Barcelona has been thrashed by Benfica in the second round of the group stage of the Champions League as they traveled to Lisbon on Thursday. Consequently, Koeman’s future at Barcelona is in doubt after the second consecutive defeat in the Champions League.
It took three minutes for the Portuguese club to lead the scoreboard carving through Barcelona’s defense when Eric Garcia was badly exposed. Darwin Nunez stepped up to deliver the crucial blow and make it 1-0 for the home team. Things got worse in the second half when Rafa Silva doubled Benfica’s advantage in the 69th minute followed by Nunez who scored his second and Benfica’s third in the 79th. Garcia then saw a red in the 87th and multiplied Barcelona’s misery.
A clearly under-pressure Ronald Koeman spoke to the press after the defeat and answered a variety of questions including his future at the club and the performance to specific players.
In the match in the post-match interview, Koeman said, “The final result is hard to accept. It’s not the result we saw on the pitch. Despite going behind fast, I think the team played well until it went to 2-0. We had clear opportunities to score.”
He added, “I’m not going to discuss the level of this team. Everyone knows what Barcelona’s problem is today. It’s not possible to comment on a team that’s not one of past years. For me, it’s clearer than water.”
When asked about his future Koeman was reluctant to discuss his future at the club, he said, “I can only comment on my work with the team,” he said. “I feel supported by my players and the attitude [they’ve shown me]. I don’t know about the rest. I don’t know about the club. I can’t say anything about my future because I don’t know how the club thinks in that sense. I don’t want to answer any more questions about this because it’s not in my hands. We’ll see.”
Koeman continued, “If people within the club don’t recognize the current situation at Barcelona, I will face a problem. Of course, we can do better, but we will not win the Champions League this season.”
Earlier, Ronald Koeman’s men took a 3-0 defeat from Bayern Munich at Camp Nou in the first round and were keen to get back to winning ways they didn’t. Benfica stunned them, also winning 3-0.
Barcelona sits sixth in La Liga and has endured a mixed start to the season. They’ve struggled to kickstart their new era having lost Lionel Messi to Paris Saint-Germain. After this result, even the most ardent of Koeman supporters would concede that his days at the club are numbered but things have gone too far.
Meanwhile, Cristiano Ronaldo scored a 95th-minute winner for Manchester United against the Spanish Villarreal, whereas, a solitary goal from Federico Chiesa was enough to condemn the current Champion league winners Chelsea to their second 1-0 defeat of the week and Lewandowski’s double helped Bayern to cruise past Dynamo Kyiv.