Ronald Koeman calls for Xavi support but insists he does not feel like a ‘failed coach’ after Barcelona spell

Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Ronald Koeman has asked the former Barcelona club to show Xavi more support than he received at Camp Nou dugout and defended his record with Blaugrana.

Koeman spent more than a year at Camp Nou dugout before being sacked in October 2021, winning the Copa del Ray last season but overseeing a third-place finish in LaLiga with the departure of legendary striker Lionel Messi.

Barca sit ninth in the top flight when the Dutchman leaves, but they are now the favorites for a Champions League title after Xavi watched the results rise.

However, the Catalan giants have just lost three home games in a row for the second time in their good history, and Koeman says team president Joan Laporta should show Xavi more support than he was given during his tenure.

“Barca’s situation, both for the team and for the club, is the same as when I was there,” he said at a golf event in Barcelona. “It means that changing coaches does not mean that I can always improve, the state of the team hurts me.

“From January I will be the coach of the Netherlands, but I am asking for a lot of support from Xavi. He is a great coach, a legend at home and it is not his fault that Barca are in this situation.

“All I can ask for is Xavi’s support, I did not get full support from the president, I hope [Laporta] is educated and supportive of Xavi. I did not have the support of the party and I hope Xavi will support you.

“Inside you may have doubts but on the outside there must be support.

Barca have enjoyed an increase in results after the arrival of January Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang et Ferran Torres, but rivals Real Madrid now have 15 points left in LaLiga.

Los Blancos will defend their 35th title by scoring at home to Espanyol on Saturday after winning eight of their last nine league games (one defeat), and Koeman says that gap is proof that his term in office was not a complete failure, highlighting. financial difficulties and presidential elections that have had a profound effect on his entire career.

“By the time I left, Madrid had eight points left and now the difference is almost double,” he added. “I don’t feel like a failed coach, far from it.

“In January we had 12 points left at Atletico Madrid, we had a chance to be the first against Granada and we failed. We kept the Copa and if you win the title it is not a failure.

“For months I did not have a president, I had to make statements about the state of the party, there was a financial imbalance. Then Messi and [Antoine] Griezmann left on the last day of the market.

“I was very criticized for signing Luuk Jong, who does very well if you need a finisher. Fortunately his goals gave five or six points a few minutes ago. I think one person or coach will not be blamed for losing [the team’s] DNA.”

Koeman will also take up his position as Netherlands coach after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar when he takes over from Louis van Gaal and will be reunited with Blaugrana midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

De Jong has come up with some criticism for his recent games and has been linked with a move to Manchester United, but Koeman believes the 24-year-old will prove that any skeptics are wrong.

“I don’t think Barca want to sell Frankie, and Xavi doesn’t want either,” he added. “You should not doubt Frankkie de Jong, I do not doubt him and he is a newcomer to the national team. We put the player above everything and after two weeks we criticize him.”


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