Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is coming under increasing scrutiny after less than four months in the job following a string of poor results in La Liga and the Champions League.
The Catalan giants were beaten 2-1 at newly-promoted Cadiz on Saturday and were then humbled 3-0 by Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday. Barca progress to the knockout stages but only as runners-up in Group G.
Barcelona players are growing increasingly unhappy with Koeman’s methods and are making their complaints clear in the dressing room, according to Albert Masnou at Sport. The players have told Koeman they want him to abandon his new 4-2-3-1 formation and revert back to 4-3-3.
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Players Frustrated With Formation
The players are not against Koeman as a person but do not like the double-pivot system he has implemented since replacing Quique Setien. The dressing room believes it goes against what many have learnt during their career and is tactically inflexible.
The players also believe that the 4-2-3-1 causes problems at the back because it leaves “a very large gap between defense and attack and rivals find spaces everywhere to attack Ter Stegen’s goal.”
There is also criticism that Koeman’s system inhibits the Barca attack and forces captain Lionel Messi to always move into the center of the pitch to create chances. The dressing room has spoken to Koeman and made it clear they want him to switch back to their preferred 4-3-3 formation.
Criticism For Koeman
Koeman has come in for criticism for his set-up from rival managers. Cadiz boss Alvaro Cervera told El Larguero that the Barca coach’s team selection and substitutions helped his team in their shock La Liga victory over the Catalan giants, as reported by Sport.
We had the luck that Dembele didn’t start and Koeman didn’t use pure wingers. It wasn’t a relief but for me, my way of seeing things, I liked Dembele more. He’s one of the few who can get you to that touchline. Coutinho is not so much of an individual and you can defend him as a team.
I’m surprised he took off Dest. He’s a very fast player who can go deep. And when he put on Trincao we knew that they were going to be playing even more centrally. And on top of that we saw an opportunity because we knew Trincao would not going to defend well on that side and put on someone fast who could do them damage. It helped us because when Barcelona get to the touchline they are very dangerous.
Juventus boss Andrea Pirlo also spoke about how his “tactical plan worked” after overseeing a 3-0 Champions League win over the Catalan giants on Tuesday at the Camp Nou, as reported by Football Italia.
Pirlo said he “prepared the match to create superiority in midfield with three against their two” and was proved right as Frenkie de Jong and Miralem Pjanic were overrun in midfield.
Koeman was asked about his team selection after the match but insisted his formation “is the best system with the players we have,” according to journalist Rik Sharma.
The Barcelona boss is known for his stubborn personality and seems unwilling to make changes for now. Yet if results and performances do not improve quickly he may have no alternative but to make changes to his team.