Ronald Koeman insists his work was paramount in saving Barcelona but his relationship with club president Joan Laporta has yet to fully recover.
The Catalan club were underutilized in Koeman’s first term last season, finishing third – seven points behind champions Atletico Madrid – in LaLiga and knocking out Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Barca’s troubles were further exacerbated in August due to financial difficulties and complications with LaLiga when Blaugrana legend Lionel Messi left for free and several players suffered wage cuts to allow signings to be registered.
Despite Koeman’s seemingly fragile relationship with Laporta, who unsuccessfully sought a replacement for the manager in June, the Dutchman is enjoying his time at Camp Nou as he looks on to a possible new deal.
“It has improved a bit [the relationship with Laporta]”Koeman told NOS. “But when you as a club let things go a little and you are not sure about the future of a coach, then you start to speculate.
“And if you’re the one who’s the coach, it’s not a nice case.
“There was something in the media last week that I thought was wrong. This in turn indicates that the trainer is not performing at full capacity.
“He said a little too much. That is possible privately. I like it when a president gets involved and asks questions. Just that it shouldn’t be in the press, that was the problem.
“Laporta was not wise on two occasions, let me put it that way. We are now also in contact about a new contract. Thanks to me, this club has a future.
“I see a lot of potential. I am open to stay here, I am enjoying myself here. “
– FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) June 3, 2021
Koeman’s redesigned team have picked up seven points from their first three games in the absence of Messi, with Barca using the largest number of U21 players to date in their Spanish top-day squad (eight).
Indeed, the former Dutch coach revealed that academy products will always have a chance under his leadership when he warned that Barca’s financial troubles will affect their competitiveness in Europe.
“It’s not just Pedri,” Koeman continued. “There are still four or five players aged 18 or 19 who will be fantastic players for this club in three or four years.
“Accepting things and not being able to do things they might [the club] should. That’s the moment. Focus on the youth and give them a chance.
“Barcelona is in debt and therefore has to deal with fair play in Spain. The best players can’t come to Barcelona because they have higher contracts and they cost a lot of money that the club doesn’t have.
“This club will always be good in terms of sport. The question is, can you get back to the level where you will really win the Champions League and be the best in Spain for years in a row? That is not the case at the moment. Let’s hope it comes back. “