Barcelona’s Koeman accuses media of ‘easy job’ after slow start to season

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman says the media have an “easy job” following reports his players are unsettled following a disappointing start to the season.

Barca lost four of their first 10 La Liga games as they made their worst start to a domestic campaign in over 30 years. They have since won back-to-back games to move up to fifth in the table, but criticism has remained.

Koeman: Sociedad win showed the team I want to see
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A story earlier this week claimed the atmosphere among the players is bad and that there are fractions among Koeman’s squad.

“It’s easier if you’re playing well and winning, then the atmosphere is different,” the Dutch coach responded in a news conference ahead of Saturday’s game against Valencia.

“But that’s normal. It’s the same for every team. What I can say is since my first day as coach, what I have seen in the dressing room is good people, people that are together.

“It’s easy for the press to take a picture or a comment [out of context] because you don’t know what happens in the dressing room. You don’t see anything before the game, after [the game] or at half-time. You have an easy job.”

Football’s lawmakers were also the subject of Koeman’s complaints on Friday as he rallied against the packed fixture list being imposed on Europe’s top clubs.

“The schedule is crazy,” he said. “If we win the semifinal of the [Spanish] Supercopa [in January], that will be another game as well.

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Gab Marcotti and Julien Laurens analyse Lionel Messi’s disappointing performance for Barcelona against Real Sociedad.

“We are killing the players. We have to talk about how to resolve this issue because this season is very tight in terms of fixtures.”

After beating Levante and Real Sociedad, Barca will look to make it three wins in a week when they host Valencia at Camp Nou on Wednesday in a game that has special connotations for Koeman.

He spent six months in charge of Valencia over a decade ago, winning the Copa del Rey but falling out very publicly with senior players Santiago Canizares and David Albelda, among others.

“Coaching Valencia isn’t the best memory from my coaching career,” the Barca boss said. “Maybe I made mistakes with some decisions, as we all do. It was a short stay but at least we won the Copa del Rey.

“It’s a difficult place [to coach] and in the last 15 years there have been a lot of coaching changes there. It seems like a complicated club where you don’t get the peace of mind you need to do the job.”

Barca are still without Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati for the visit of Valencia, all of whom remain sidelined with injuries.

In their absence, Koeman has turned to youth, with Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo, Oscar Mingueza and Pedri among those handed chances in recent weeks.

Pressed on why Riqui Puig has not been given the same opportunities, Koeman suggested the young midfielder, who came through Barca’s La Masia academy, is not training well enough to deserve more game time.

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