So Barcelona wouldn’t be where they are now without Ronald Koeman according to the man himself. Is that right?
In some ways the Dutchman isn’t wrong because where the blaugranes are now is about as far away from where they should be as it’s possible to be.
And yes, the blame for that can be left squarely at Koeman’s door.
Once again we find that in the biggest games, the coach talks a good game but very rarely backs that up with tactical acumen, nous and the ability to have his charges performing at a high level.
Though there are mitigating circumstances in that the likes of Ansu, Sergio Aguero and Ousmane Dembele were all missing, on the night it’s arguable that they would’ve made little difference, so haphazard were Koeman’s tactics.
Bayern on another level to Barcelona, who have now lost their last three games in the Champions League at Camp Nou 10-1: 3-0 tonight, 4-1 vs. PSG and 3-0 vs. Juventus— Samuel Marsden (@samuelmarsden) September 14, 2021
Up until Thomas Muller’s incredibly fortunate opener, Barca were still in the game, but that was more because Bayern were playing in first gear than anything else.
Maybe the ploy is deliberate from Koeman’s point of view as he appears to enjoy crossing swords with the president.
It’s a battle of wills that he’s destined to lose, but that seemingly won’t stop him from marginalising Riqui Puig, playing a 3-5-2 when a 4-3-3 is preferred etc etc.
Some would even argue that Señor Laporta shouldn’t even be sticking his beak into first-team matters and the Dutch coach has every right to manage as he sees fit.
That wouldn’t necessarily be an issue if there was some logic to Koeman’s preparation and game management.
Square pegs into round holes has been a common theme on more occasions that many of us care to remember.
Against Bayern on Tuesday, Barca were moribund as an attacking force from first to last.
Not a single shot on target for the first time ever in the Champions League is the most damning of statistics, but one that neatly encompasses Koeman’s reign.
The job is far too big for him, and let’s be honest... he was only given it because of his Dream Team association.
Unremarkable stints at Everton and Southampton do not qualify him to coach the biggest club in the world.
Some of Barca’s upcoming games will be won, but that’ll be in spite of Koeman and not because of him.
If we get to the Christmas break and nothing has changed in terms of approach, only the strength of Barca’s results in the big games will be enough to save the coach.
On Tuesday’s showing, that’s unlikely. The only crumb of credit that can be handed to him is throwing on the youngsters in the second half.
Energetic and fearless, they at least offer some hope going forward.