Ronald Koeman has hit back at suggestions that he could be fired as Barcelona manager if the Catalan giants fail to beat Athletic Club in the Copa del Rey final.
The 58-year-old has been monitoring a transition year at Camp Nou after succeeding Quique Setien as manager, behind inconsistent results and another disappointing Champions League campaign.
But despite many feeling that Koeman is not up to the task of managing Barça, they are very much in La Liga’s title race on their way into the season’s final stages and have the chance to lift silver in the Copa del Rey.
Koeman has had a hard time winning big games this season Quality Sport Images / Getty Images
Performance has improved significantly since Koeman chose to switch to a back three, and he admitted that he can not understand why his job may be at stake given Barcelona’s recent long undefeated run.
“It’s a little strange that I have to answer these kinds of questions because we had a run of 19 games without losing,” said the Dutchman, quoted by BBC Sport. “We’re losing a game and I already have to talk about my future?
“Maybe I have to accept this. I have another year’s contract. I know it’s a lot of pressure and I can handle it but sometimes it’s a little weird.”
Barça are favorites to beat Athletic – who lost the rescheduled 2019/20 Copa del Rey final to Basque rivals Real Sociedad just two weeks ago – but must overcome the fragility they have shown in major matches this season.
Real Sociedad’s reign as holder of the Copa del Rey will be short | CRISTINA QUICLER / Getty Images
Regardless of the outcome, Koeman is convinced he has the support of new President Joan Laporta, who was recently re-elected following the controversial resignation of former incumbent Josep Maria Bartomeu.
“I have another year on my contract and I know what will happen if we win or if we lose,” Koeman added. “I’ve talked to the president and he has shown confidence in me. I do not think that every time something is written about a coach, the president would have to give him confidence.”
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