Koeman defends first season at the helm of Barcelona: “You can’t ask for a brace every year”
Ronald Koeman believes his first campaign at the helm of Barcelona can be seen as a positive one and is confident he will still be in charge next season..
Barca beat Eibar 1-0 in their last La Liga game of the season on Saturday to finish third, five points behind Real Madrid and seven adrift of champions Atlético Madrid.
Catalans too left the Champions League for Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 stages, as well as his loss to Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup in January.
Koeman: “Hopes were too high during the season”
Koeman’s side took exact revenge by beating Athletic in the Copa del Rey final last month, however, and the Dutchman believes the trophy has been collected this season.
“We’ve gained plenty of league points since the start of 2021 and won the cup brilliantly“Koeman said after the late victory at Ipurua.
“We weren’t able to take advantage at the top of the table when we could have and we must learn from it.
“If you told me in August that we would win a trophy and fight for La Liga with two or three games to go, I would sign for it.
“Hopes were too high during the season – that’s how I see it. That’s why I think it’s not a bad season, far from it.
“It’s not the best season possible, but you cannot claim a double every year, or a team that is still in training. “
The 79 points collected by Koeman are fewest Barcelona bosses in their first 38 league games since Frank Rijkaard (72) in 2003-04.
This is the first season Barca have finished apart from the top two since 2007-08 and the only time they have gone successive seasons without finishing first since between 2006 and 2008.
But Koeman, who alluded to the lack of support from his superiors during his pre-match press conference, insists he is still at the start of a long-term process in Catalonia despite reports suggesting he will be replaced at the end of the season.
“I don’t think this is my last game“He said.” I have a contract and, I don’t know… you talk about it a lot, but I’m calm. If the club wants to change anything, it has to talk to me.
“As soon as I arrived, the only signature made was [Sergiño] Dest, the last day of the window. The team is not at the level we want to have at Barça.
“Many at the club agree with that. We are trying to improve the team. There are older players, with all due respect, which can still give a lot.
“Young players need to gain experience and will get better. You cannot change teams in a single season. “
Atlético worthy title winners, says Koeman
As Barca fought for a 1-0 victory at Eibar, already relegated on Saturday, Atlético secured the victory they needed against Real Valladolid to propel Real Madrid to the title.
Atleti led the way to the top for 30 match days and Koeman says his team can’t complain about missing out on first place.
“Atlético deserved to win the championship“Said Koeman.” They’ve been leaders for quite some time and have a very well-trained team.
“In general they were a bit better than Real Madrid and Barcelona. Congratulations to them, and nothing more. “
Barca were heading for a goalless draw with Eibar ahead Antoine Griezmann shot in an impressive stunt winner nine minutes from time.
He was directly involved in 25 goals in all competitions in 2021 – 15 goals and 10 assists – who is only behind his teammate Messi (37) and Gerard Moreno (30) from Villarreal among LaLiga players.
Barcelona ‘hurt’ after failing to win La Liga – Griezmann
And like his head coach, Griezmann hopes Barca can strengthen their squad in tight season.
“We suffer after missing the title. We have failed in some important games and need to rest and see where we can improve for next year, ”he told Movistar.
“I will continue to work as I have for two years, and the president will make his formalities. “