Barcelona’s club president quashed reports of the imminent firing of Ronald Koeman on Saturday when he said that the Dutch coach will keep his job.
“Koeman will carry on as Barcelona coach” Joan Laporta said hours before Barcelona’s match at Atletico Madrid that many reports in the Spanish media speculated could be Koeman's last.
Today, regardless of the result (against Atletico Madrid), he will carry on being Barcelona coach." Laporta told reporters in Madrid. “He has an ongoing contract. And as your colleague was saying, we hope that he can get us back on the winning path, playing the way we want. I know he will give it his all.”
It was the first public statement Laporta has made since a bitter 3-0 loss at Benfica on Wednesday sparked various reports that Koeman's days were numbered.
Barcelona has lost both its Champions League matches without generating a single shot on target and is under threat of failing to qualify for the knockout rounds for the first time in 20 years.
Koeman himself said on Friday that he imagined that the rumors of his exit were “probably true.”
(Spanish): Joan Laporta, Barcelona president:
"(Ronald) Koeman will carry on. He deserves a margin of confidence because he belongs to the Barcelona family. He loves Barcelona and is a point of reference for the Barcelona family. And apart from this there is something else - he decided to become Barcelona coach in a moment of incredible institutional and sporting difficulty. And also I have to tell you that after speaking with him I found that he has confidence in this team, especially from the moment he will be able to count on the injured players that have been out for various reasons and that we need in order to be more competitive. He believes in this team, he belongs to the Barcelona family and deserves to be given this margin of confidence that we all deserve after all. We are being given a margin of confidence as well, so we have to give it to Koeman too - and we will. Today, regardless of the result (against Atletico Madrid), he will carry on being Barcelona coach. He has an ongoing contract. And as your colleague was saying, we hope that he can get us back on the winning path, playing the way we want. I know he will give it his all."
"I ask our supporters to give the coach a margin of confidence. He deserves it. And most of all I ask them to believe in this team and I ask them to believe that when we will have the injured players available again we will have a much more competitive team. So, I ask them to give the coach a margin of confidence because, as I said, he is a (Barcelona) fan and he is a point of reference for the Barcelona family. And like all the Barcelona fans he wants that we go back on the winning path and start playing well again."