Sun, 17 Oct 2021

MADRID, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman took the unusual step of not accepting any questions from the press and instead reading a communique in his pre-game press conference on Wednesday.

Koeman is under pressure after Barca's 3-0 defeat at home to Bayern Munich a week ago and a poor performance in a 1-1 draw at home to Granada on Monday, which ended with Gerard Pique playing as a makeshift striker and Barcelona limiting themselves to long passes between the defense and striker Luuk de Jong.

Speculation has mounted that failure to win in Cadiz - where Barca lost last season - on Thursday could see Koeman sacked by the club, and instead of accepting questions, the coach preferred to read a statement regarding the situation at the club, which has debts of over 1 billion euros.

Koeman began by insisting he had the support of club president Joan Laporta. "The club is with me in a situation of reconstruction," he said. "The economic situation is connected to the sporting one. As a squad we have to build a team without large investments and that needs time."

"Our talents could be world stars in a couple of years and the youngsters will have their chances as did Xavi [Hernandez] and [Andres] Iniesta, but we ask for patience," continued Koeman.

The coach added, "We can't expect miracles in the Champions League and the defeat against Bayern has to be seen from that perspective, but the team has to be supported in words and deeds."

"I know that the press recognize this process and it isn't the first time in history that it has happened. We have your support in these decisive times and we are very happy with the support of the fans, as in the game against Granada," concluded Koeman.

Bearing in mind Barca's debts, and the loss of players such as stars Lionel Messi and Antoine Griezmann and squad players such as Junior Firpo and Miralem Pjanic, as well as injuries to Ansu Fati, Sergio Aguero, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele, Koeman has a point, but the big question is whether a club like Barca can accept that they are currently unable to compete with the best.

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