Ronald Koeman is grateful to have received “clarity” about his future in Barcelona after president Joan Laporta confirmed that the head coach under fire will remain in command of the beleaguered club.
Former Holland manager Koeman has been widely reported to be on the verge of being sacked from Barca this week, with Saturday’s trip to Wanda Metropolitano set to be his last game.
The Dutchman appeared to accept his fate when he spoke to reporters at a pre-match press conference on Friday as he struck in Laporta for failing to inform him face to face.
However, Laporta made it clear before Barça’s clash with Atletico on Saturday – which ended in a 2-0 defeat – that Koeman’s position was not in jeopardy regardless of the result.
Having received a respite, the 58-year-old is already preparing for Barça’s next round of matches following a two-week national break.
“The conversation I had [with Laporta] on the phone last night it was very good, “Koeman said after the defeat against Atleti.
“We also talked this morning about the squad, the club and other things. At least now there is some clarity in this regard. For the locker room it is important that there is clarity.
But we are Barcelona and now we have to start winning games. The pressure exists for any manager, especially Barcelona. After the break, we have three games to win.
“We talked together and the president made his decision.”
Asked if he would have liked Laporta’s support earlier, Koeman said: “I think so, but we have to point out that it has now been said and it will bring peace of mind.”
Public support for Laporta came thanks to a streak of a five-match victory in all competitions, which has now been extended by another match following the defeat against Atleti.
Luis Suarez prepared Thomas Lemar for the lead and then hid the second before half-time to doom his former team to their first league defeat since May.
With that goal clinically taken, Suarez has now scored against all 31 of the teams he has faced in LaLiga, scoring a total of 172 goals.
Barça had the whole second half to respond but only managed to make two attempts on goal, of which only one – one on one Philippe Coutinho – put Jan Oblak in serious trouble.
“I’m sad about the result, but we did well in parts of the game,” Koeman said. “We were also disappointed, especially for the first goal.
“Before the match we talked about how to defend. They have a lot of depth, but we weren’t able to defend and the 1-0 is a complicated result.
“Sometimes we could have done more damage. Two goals away against a team like Atletico, it’s very complicated. We had the chance to Coutinho, but that’s all.
“We haven’t been able to create much. We must recognize that creating against Atletico is not easy. You have to play very well because they have a lot of defensive strength.
The Catalan giants are ninth in LaLiga after seven games, five points behind leaders Real Madrid, which they will face later this month after visiting Valencia.
“There is a solution to our problems,” said Koeman, who hasn’t won any of his three games against Diego Simeone in LaLiga (P1 S2).
“But that solution is not from today to tomorrow. We have to work hard and give young people time. I also hope that we will soon be able to recover the injured players ”.