Koeman dodges Barcelona speculation

Getty Images

The 56 year-old has been tipped to succeed under-fire Barca boss Ernesto Valverde, whose future has been called into question after the Spanish giant's disappointing end to the season.

A 4-0 second-leg loss to Liverpool ended Barcelona's Champions League hopes at the semi-final stage as it crashed out 4-3 on aggregate, and it suffered a surprise 2-1 defeat to Valencia in last weekend's Copa del Rey final.

However, despite reports in the Spanish press that Koeman is being considered as a possible replacement for Valverde, the former Barca defender was unwilling to comment on matters beyond Netherlands' Nations League preparations.

"I think this is about the Dutch national team, so I would like to leave it at that," he said. 

Asked if he was willing to give assurances that he will stay on as Oranje head coach, Koeman responded: "That would be very easy, but I will not."

Koeman is preparing his side for the inaugural Nations League Finals, with the Dutch taking on England in the semi-finals on 6 June - the day after hosts Portugal face Switzerland in the other semi-final.

Despite a gruelling campaign for the Ajax contingent in his squad, Koeman insists the Eredivisie winner's run to the semi-finals of the Champions League can only be considered a positive.

"It was great to watch the development of Ajax players this season," he said. "The success in Europe hasn't proved to be prohibitive for development. Many players have grown as a result.

"But by looking at how the guys have trained, you wouldn't have the idea that they're thinking that the season's over already. I don't see that they're struggling with a few more matches, or that they're tired."


>