Sunday, December 4

Ronald Koeman insists he still has Barcelona players’ backing after Benfica defeat


Sports Betting Odds – Ronald Koeman believes he still has the support of his players despite Barcelona’s 3-0 Champions League defeat to Benfica, casting further doubt over his future as manager. Koeman was already under serious pressure before the game and the loss has only raised that to even higher levels. Barcelona got off to a nightmare start when their hosts took the lead inside three minutes and they looked like conceding more throughout the half.

Gerard Pique eventually paid the price for his side’s ropey defending, with Koeman hauling him off on the half hour mark. Benfica would go on to add two more goals after the break and Eric Garcia capped off a horrific night by seeing red for a second bookable offence just before the final whistle.

Speaking to the press after the game, Koeman insisted that he has not lost the dressing room but did admit that his future was ultimately out of his hands.

“I can only comment on my work with the team. I feel supported by my players and their attitude. I don’t know about the rest. I don’t know about the club,” he said, as reported by Marca.

“I can’t say anything about my future because I don’t know how the club thinks in that sense. I don’t want to answer any more questions about this because it’s not in my hands. We’ll see.”

Koeman also attempted to find positives from the game, saying that prior to their opponents’ second goal Barça had actually fared well.

“The final result is hard to accept. It is not the result we saw on the pitch. Despite losing fast, I think the team played well until 2-0. We have had very clear opportunities to score. That’s how you change one game. If they score one of the few that arrive and make you three, there is the big difference,” he said.

“They are very physical and very fast. I think that the first and second goals we should have defended better. Soft can be a word but there are many teams that are physically better than us.”

Koeman also addressed Pique’s early substitution with Frenkie de Jong filling in at the back after he was withdrawn.

“First you think about changing Pique for the card. He almost saw the second in the peak of the game. It’s risky. They have fast people up front. It’s a matter of changing,” he said.

“Then you think who you can put there because you’re losing. From the 30-something minute until 60 we see a team that controls the game. They have had their opportunities. I know that Frenkie was in the first opportunities, but he has also been one of those who has failed at the top not to tie the game. It was a change of important position.”

The defeat means Barcelona have lost both of their first two Champions League group games. They are also struggling in La Liga, falling to three draws from their opening six games and sitting five points adrift of leaders Real Madrid.

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