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Barcelona president Laporta issues defiant response to Koeman sack claims

Joan Laporta has given Ronald Koeman the vote of confidence as Barcelona head coach by putting their struggles into perspective.

Koeman has been under pressure at Barcelona after their turbulent summer off the pitch was followed by a tough start to the new season on it. Although unbeaten in La Liga, Barca have only won half of their opening six games. Worse still, they have suffered 3-0 defeats to both Bayern Munich and Benfica in the Champions League group stage.

It has been believed that Koeman’s job is on the brink, with a number of potential replacements lined up. The only difficulty for Barcelona would be making it financially viable.

They of course had to let go of several key players this summer, including Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann. Sacking Koeman would also cost them money, while finding a replacement on relatively cheap wages would not be easy.

Even without those factors, though, club president Laporta has pledged his commitment to Koeman continuing in the hotseat.

The Dutchman is out of contract at the end of the season, but if Laporta’s comments are anything to go by, he may be seeing that tenure through.

Laporta said: “Ronald Koeman will continue as the coach of Barca. We understand that he deserves a bit of margin for many reasons. He’s a Barca fan and legend for fans all over the world. He’ll stay on and deserves a margin of confidence.

“He loves Barca and decided to come here in a really tough time both institutionally and on a sporting front.

“After talking to him, I can see he’s got faith in the team.

“We spoke and it’s not true that we’ve got a tense relationship. It’s good and honest. I think we both think the same, to turn things around.”

The president also cited several injury issues in his squad that Koeman has had to contend with, believing he will get better results when everyone is available.

Laporta was speaking in the build-up to Barcelona’s game against reigning champions Atletico Madrid on Saturday. Some had predicted that Koeman would lose his job with a defeat.

However, it seems that will not be the case after all.

Koeman to keep job

Whether Laporta’s stance should change in future remains to be seen. For now, though, it will quieten reports of Barca’s interest in other managers.

Several from the Premier League had been speculated as potential successors. For example, there were rumours of a dream raid on Liverpool for Jurgen Klopp, which always seemed unlikely.

Likewise, getting Pep Guardiola back to Camp Nou from Manchester City would have been mesmerising, but not realistic.

Even Leicester’s Brendan Rodgers was linked with the post, but Koeman will keep it for the foreseeable future.

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