BARCELONA (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman is not feeling under pressure despite his team’s poor results and insists the players are behind him as they look to return to winning ways at home to Levante in La Liga on Sunday.
Barca fell 12 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid with last week’s shock 2-1 defeat by Cadiz before losing 3-0 at home to Juventus to surrender top spot in their Champions League group and finish second for the first time since 2007.
“I’m feeling fine, even I’m not happy with how we are doing this season in the league and we’re trying to get the best out of the team while using lots of young players,” Koeman told a news conference on Saturday.
“I feel comfortable but of course I’m worried about the results and we’re trying to improve them and I believe we have to stand up and be counted in our next few games after the recent results we’ve had.”
Koeman, fiercely critical of the players after the Cadiz game, defended his up-front approach and denied reports that players were unhappy with his coaching style and the 4-2-3-1 formation he has favoured since taking charge this season, a break with the 4-3-3 used by his predecessors.
“I always try to respect the players but we’re at a club where you have to speak frankly,” he said.
“I speak to the players before I speak in press conferences and if they were unhappy with me they would have told me. Some stories have come out that they are unhappy with my formation and that was a lie.
“If I didn’t have the confidence of the players I wouldn’t be able to work. But I don’t need anyone’s support. In a big side when results don’t go how you expect them to the number one person responsible is always the coach.”