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Koeman: The new King of Camp Nou?

Deserves the plaudits

Real Sociedad v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Evidently, seven months is a long time in football.

On August 19 last year, Ronald Koeman was announced as the new Barca coach, and it’s right to say that his appointment was received poorly by the masses.

Like Ernesto Valverde and Quique Setien before him, it was seemingly an underwhelming and safe choice from a board that didn’t know its backside from its elbow.

It was further evidence for many that the Catalans were a sinking ship without a rudder, and the first few performances under the Dutchman only underscored that narrative.

Osasuna v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

After 10 La Liga games, Koeman’s record was W4 D2 L4, and the blaugranes were so far behind the leaders as to be an also-ran as far as title challenges go.

However, here we are heading towards game week 29, and the team haven’t lost in the Spanish top-flight since match number 10 of Koeman’s tenure.

Only Valencia, Eibar and Cadiz have managed a draw in that time, the latter two because of sticking 10 men behind the ball for the entire 90 minutes.

All of the other games have been wins, coming via a mixture of grinding out the three points or, as with Real Sociedad, hammering them.

It’s an incredible turnaround and, if the manager is the one who is slated at any football club and eventually sacked if results aren’t going their way, then it stands to reason that they should be the ones praised when things go well.

Koeman’s appointment has turned into a positive because of more than results, mind.

Look at the bravery he’s shown in bringing through a number of high-quality youngsters, all of whom are performing in the preferred system.

If his name was Pep Guardiola everyone would be lauding his acumen, though perhaps now Koeman is starting to win the respect he deserves.

FC Barcelona v Sevilla - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Barca may not win the league of course. They may not win the cup either.

The job Koeman has done in seven short months is, however, potentially worth more from the club’s point of view than more silverware.

He’s given the team its identity back and been the strong hand that’s been lacking since Luis Enrique departed.

Barca are playing as good as at any point over the past few years and it’s right that Koeman appears to be safe in his position for another season as a result.

With the senior players believed to be in agreement that he remains in situ too, there is - incredibly when one considers the back story to what he’s had to deal with whilst keeping the squad competitive - genuine belief that good things are just around the corner.

Chapeau, Ronald.

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