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PETE JENSON: Ronald Koeman is just ONE loss from the edge before the Classic

PETE JENSON: Inspired by Ansu Fati, Barcelona are slowly getting back on track after successive victories … but Ronald Koeman is only ONE defeat from the brink and faces a critical test in the first Clásico of the post-Lionel era Messi.

  • Barcelona faces Real Madrid in El Clásico this weekend for the first time in 2021-22
  • It is the first meeting of these two teams since Lionel Messi left Barcelona
  • Ronald Koeman’s team is on the mend, but it’s always a bad loss from the edge


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After watching his Barcelona team beat Valencia last weekend, Ronald Koeman was asked if he felt he could now relax.

‘For 48 hours, yes’ was his reply. The pressure was low for a couple of days, but then Dynamo Kiev arrived at the Camp Nou and almost achieved at least a draw against a flat and functional Barcelona and the dark clouds of doubt reappeared.

It is never more than a defeat of a crisis and a defeat of Real Madrid, if it is hard, can be one more crisis in the eyes of President Joan Laporta.

Koeman is permanently under pressure at the Camp Nou

Memphis Depay and Co have earned two wins in their last two games

Memphis Depay and Co have earned two wins in their last two games

Ronald Koeman (left) is seeing signs of life in his Barça team, but he faces a defining Classic against Real Madrid where a defeat could take him to the brink.

Spain coach Luis Enrique will be at the Camp Nou on Sunday for the game and that will just remind everyone of the theory that with very similar resources and less time to work with the players, he is getting much more from his team than Koeman .

Sergio Busquets and Eric García play better for the national team than for Barcelona, ​​while Gavi’s rapid advance to Spain’s first-choice XI is a reminder that Koeman has good players to work with.

He would remind his critics that he gave Gavi his Barcelona debut, just as he built his team around Pedri last season. And that he does not have the same options as Luis Enrique because when Pedri loses the action of Spain they can resort to a large number of alternatives, while Koeman’s options are limited.

He will be without Pedri on Sunday and without Ronald Araujo. Jordi Alba is also a doubt although he should. None of that will matter if Barcelona are well beaten: Koeman’s job will be back at stake.

This is a battle of two former Everton coaches and the other, Carlo Ancelotti, tried to defend Koeman in preparation for the game. He said Movistar: ‘I came to Everton after him and people spoke highly of him.

“I don’t know him personally, but I know that right now training Barcelona with all the remaining players is not easy.”

Another former Clásico coach, Bernd Schuster, who managed Barcelona and played for both Real Madrid and Barcelona, ​​added: “The problem is not the coach, too much has happened at the club.”

The fans seem disconnected and the board must build up the excitement to get them back.

The fans seem disconnected and the board must build up the excitement to get them back.

The fans seem disconnected and the board must build up the excitement to get them back.

Real Madrid are in second place and a strong away win against Barcelona could condemn Koeman's position

Real Madrid are in second place and a strong away win against Barcelona could condemn Koeman's position

Real Madrid are in second place and a strong away win against Barcelona could condemn Koeman’s position

But former Barcelona center forward Julio Salinas said he felt Koeman’s future was already decided, regardless of the results. ” In other words, it remains ‘yes’ no ‘when’ you are fired.

It would seem that only a strong defeat on Sunday would change the current idea that Koeman can continue to receive criticism as the club works on a longer-term strategy that would see them bring in a new manager in January or more likely at the end. it’s from the season. At least with Koeman in place, the anger of the fans is directed at him and not at the board.

The stadium has been only half full for the last two games with just 47,317 to see last weekend’s win over Valencia and just 45,968 to see the win over Dynamo Kiev. despite all Covid restrictions on capacity lifted.

With just over 26,000 members having their season ticket options frozen this season (many because they weren’t sure to what extent they would be able to attend games in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic), the club was always going to have a difficult time filling the 99,000 sand. especially without the same levels of sightseeing in town ready to grab the unused tickets.

The club has moved to allow around 13,000 people on waiting lists to become holders of season tickets to get hold of these unused tickets. And those who have frozen their option have been urged to think again, it is now clear that fans can return to the stadiums at full capacity.

Bars around the stadium should also be full on Sunday with restrictions on their indoor seating lifted more than a week ago.

Gerard Piqué breathed life into his Champions League campaign to score in the 1-0 victory

Gerard Piqué breathed life into his Champions League campaign to score in the 1-0 victory

Gerard Piqué breathed life into his Champions League campaign to score in the 1-0 victory

Those who are on the ground on Sunday will go back to back Barcelona as they have done so far.

There were some whistles in the second half against Dynamo Kiev, but now it has been two wins in a row and with the new talisman Ansu Fati, fresh from having signed his new contract that keeps him at the club until 2027, there are things to be on. positive.

The club’s director of football, Mateu Alemany, says that he has stayed at the club “ for half the money that some other clubs offer ” and that loyalty will only increase the positivity around him and the belief that he can give the victory for Barça in their first Clásico in the post-Messi era.

If he wins the game, Barcelona will go above Real Madrid in the table. That could appear in Koeman’s pre-game talk.

‘How bad can we be if three points today and we beat them?’ If they win, you will no doubt be asked if you can relax now. And your answer will be the same: ‘for 48 hours, yes’. They play again on Wednesday.

Much of the hope for a change depends on academy star Ansu Fati, who has just landed a new contract.

Much of the hope for a change depends on academy star Ansu Fati, who has just landed a new contract.

Much of the hope for a change depends on academy star Ansu Fati, who has just landed a new contract.

Fati receives shirt number 10 and leads the attack after the departure of Lionel Messi

Fati receives shirt number 10 and leads the attack after the departure of Lionel Messi

Fati receives shirt number 10 and leads the attack after the departure of Lionel Messi

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