Ronald Koeman is under increased pressure after Barcelona were comfortably beaten by Benfica
Barcelona slid further into a mire of mediocrity as the Spanish giants were well beaten by Benfica in their second Champions League fixture.
Ronald Koeman’s side registered just one shot on target at the Stadium of Light as the Portuguese side cruised to a 3-0 victory.
Defender Eric Garcia was sent off late on to add further questions to Koeman’s curiously constructed squad.
Despite a much-needed victory over Levante on Sunday, Barcelona are already five points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid.
Having already been out-classed by Bayern Munich, the Catalan club are bottom of Group E in the Champions League.
Koeman last week declined to take questions at a press conference, reading only a prepared statement in which he called for support.
The Spanish newspapers have this morning described the situation as a “nightmare” and a “total disaster”.
AS led with: “Sunk”, and quoted Sergio Busquets as describing the club’s plight as a “critical situation”. The football-focussed paper believes Koeman still has the support of his players, but not the club.
Spain’s highest read daily newspaper Marca described Barcelona as “painful” in being “rolled over” by Benfica, emphatically referring to the continued problems as a “total disaster”.
Mundo Deportivo echoed AS in suggesting that Koeman is now under serious pressure after the defeat, while Sport’s headline read: “This is a nightmare”.
Koeman was last week backed by Barcelona president Joan Laporta, with the cost of sacking the Dutchman believed to be high and perhaps unpalatable to a club already facing financial difficulties.
There is also a lack of obvious, suitable successors, with Belgium manager Roberto Martinez most often connected to the role.
Former midfielder Xavi is expected to manage the club at some point in his post-playing career but the Spaniard, currently in charge of Al-Sadd in Qatar, is believed to be content with his current job and unwilling to step on Koeman’s toes, according to Marca.
Xavi previously turned down the role in early 2020 while Ernesto Valverde was under pressure at the Nou Camp, deciding that the time was not right to take charge of the club.
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