Barcelona president Joan Laporta is reportedly edging ever closer to pulling the trigger on boss Ronald Koeman and is rumoured to have held a meeting without the manager present
Wednesday night’s 3-0 humiliation at the hands of the Portuguese outfit has only increased pressure on Koeman, who is nearing the sack, as Barca have endured their worst ever start to a Champions League campaign.
The result ensured that Koeman has guided the La Liga giants to just one victory in the past five attempts, without a single point in Europe – five points adrift from rivals Real Madrid in the league.
Two successive 3-0 defeats in Europe have left Barca with a mountain to climb in their Champions League group, the first coming to Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.
More recently, reports have emerged from Spanish news outlet Diario AS that president Laporta made his way down to the away dressing room at the Estadio da Luz to console his players.
The same report states how Laporta’s speech, aimed at rallying the players, did not mention Koeman once nor was the Dutchman present during the talk as he was occupied fulfilling his post-match media obligations.
It was during these media duties that Koeman issued a particularly bleak update on his own future, claiming: “I’m not going to argue about the level of my team. There’s no point in comparing this with Barcelona teams of years gone by. That’s as clear as water.
“I can only give you my opinion of my work at the club – I feel backed by my players and their attitude.
“The rest, the club, I’m not sure…I can’t say any more, because I don’t know what the club thinks in that sense. It’s not in my hands.”
Koeman was later pressed on whether he feels like he still has supporters within the club, to which he said: “I feel the players are behind me”, asked whether he felt the same about the board, he said: “I don’t know.”
Though performances have hardly been up to the required standard, Koeman has had to lead Barca in the midst of the most turbulent financial period in the club’s history.
The Catalan giants declared a staggering £1.15billion debt, which was the reasoning behind the decision to allow club icon Lionel Messi to leave in the summer, as well as fellow forward Antoine Griezmann.
A window of poor recruitment came to a head against Benfica, with new recruit Luuk De Jong missing a sitter shortly after fellow summer signing Eric Garcia was sent off just after the half-hour mark.