Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has insisted that sacking Ronald Koeman wouldn’t be the best idea after the 3-0 humbling defeat to SL Benfica.
Speaking to reporters after Barcelona’s humiliating 3-0 loss to SL Benfica in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night (h/t Goal.com), midfielder Frenkie de Jong has insisted that sacking manager Ronald Koeman would not help the club come out of their current situation.
After two wins in two games in the 2021/22 season, things have gone terribly wrong for Barcelona. A 3-0 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League was followed by two dour draws against minnows Granada and Cadiz in La Liga, which brought immense pressure on Koeman.
A 3-0 win over Levante over the weekend made it seem like the Blaugrana had turned over a new leaf, but it would prove to be a false dawn as Barcelona succumbed to another 3-0 defeat in Europe, this time to Benfica. It was yet another listless display from the Catalan giants and the axe is back swinging on Koeman’s head after the latest setback.
Speculations have been rife that Barcelona have already identified potential replacement candidates in the form of Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez and former midfielder and club legend Xavi Hernandez. However, Frenkie de Jong has opined that sacking Koeman at this point would not serve the club in any way.
🗣️ Frenkie de Jong:
“In my opinion the solution is not to change the coach.”
🗣️ Ronald Koeman:
“I feel supported, very supported by my players here at Barcelona. And by the club? I don’t know…"
It's a mess at FC Barcelona. pic.twitter.com/MVAiaEMUBf
— Footy Accumulators (@FootyAccums) September 29, 2021
“I can’t talk about Koeman, it’s not for me to say,” De Jong told reporters. “I don’t think changing the coach can solve anything. We are trying everything, working hard in training, we are trying our best on the field but today was not our day, that is clear.”
De Jong’s midfield partner and Barcelona captain Sergio Busquets also echoed the Netherlands international’s opinion, claiming that it is easy to make the manager the scapegoat, but the team as a whole needs to step up. “In the end, the easy thing is to [sack Koeman]. But we all have a responsibility. We are in a critical situation,” the veteran star said.
Despite the seeming show of support from some of his players, it is unlikely that Koeman will be Barcelona manager for long. Wednesday’s defeat meant that they are rooted to the bottom of their group in the Champions League, losing consecutive group stage games in the competition for the first time since 2000.
The ball lies in president Joan Laporta’s court now and it remains to be seen what decision is made with regard to the future of the Dutch tactician.