Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman admitted he is aware his future will be up for discussion after his team’s title hopes took a huge blow with a 3-3 draw against Levante on Tuesday.
The Catalan giants looked set to go top of the table after going 2-0 up in the first half thanks to goals from Lionel Messi and Pedri. However, the visitors were twice pegged back and had to settle for a 3-3 draw.
Koeman’s future is now in the spotlight and the Dutchman said after the game he is not surprised to see speculation circulating, as reported by Marca.
“Coaches are always questioned. But I understand that, after that second half, there are questions,” he said. “We are disappointed and we’re wondering what happened. We have to move on and prepare for next season. As a coach, you’re always responsible. We spoke at half time about improving defensively and not dropping our intensity. We were hopeful, we were 2-0 ahead. You don’t expect to draw from there.”
The 58-year-old is contracted to Barcelona until 2022 and has already lifted the Copa del Rey this season. However, the team’s failure in big games under Koeman and his conservative playing style has left the board doubting whether he is the right man to continue as coach, according to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden at ESPN.
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Koeman Struggles to Explain Draw
Koeman made changes to his team for Tuesday’s match. The Dutchman deployed Ousmane Dembele as a wing-back on the right and brought Ronald Araujo back into the defense.
The changes initially worked well with Barca starting strongly and moving into a 2-0 lead. However, Araujo was forced off with injury at half-time and replaced by Sergi Roberto.
The 28-year-old struggled as part of the three-man backline and the team as a whole put in a poor performance after the break. Koeman admitted he was at a loss to explain why his team threw away a healthy lead.
“Our aim was to win all three games and hope that the others would lose points. But now it’s difficult. Games last for 90 minutes and we lost a lot in the second half. They caused problems and we didn’t defend well,” he said. “It’s very disappointing. It’s impossible to understand what happened. It’s difficult to explain it.”
Busquets Writes Off Title Hopes
Many of Barca’s problems stemmed from a poor defensive showing, with midfielder Sergio Busquets admitting after the match teams score “too easily” against the Catalan giants.
The Spain international also said his team would find it very hard to win the title after dropping points yet again in a crucial match, as reported by Marca.
“We don’t have much chance left. It depends on what the others do, but there are very few points left to play for,” he said. “We started well and had the advantage. But, in the end, it was the same thing that has happened throughout the season – we made mistakes and they scored too easily.”
Barca has just two La Liga games of the 2020-21 season left to play now. Next up is a visit from Celta Vigo on Sunday before Barca plays Eibar on the final day of the campaign on May 23.