Whoever turns into Barcelona president may have a tough time eliminating Ronald Koeman as coach.
The progress the staff has made since shedding to Bayern Munich 8-2 in August was evident on Wednesday, when Barcelona rallied previous Sevilla to succeed in the Copa del Rey closing with a 3-0 extra-time win.
Within the build-up to the second leg of the semifinals in Seville, Koeman referred to as on the remainder of staff to step up and provides Lionel Messi a hand in scoring targets. And though Messi was nonetheless the engine that drives Barcelona’s assault together with his passing, dribbling and imaginative and prescient, it fell to 3 of his teammates to place the ball previous Sevilla’s imposing protection.
“That is my happiest night time as Barcelona’s coach,” Koeman stated after his staff overturned Sevilla’s 2-0 victory from the primary leg at Camp Nou final month.
“We all the time believed. Now we have by no means given up on this Copa,” the previous Barcelona defender stated. “It’s a query of mentality. As coach, I can’t ask my staff to provide any greater than what it did tonight.”
Barcelona faces a fair larger hurdle subsequent week when it visits Paris Saint-Germain within the Champions League trailing 4-1 from the primary leg. However the staff can aspire to maintain up its constructive momentum within the Spanish league.
Barcelona visits Osasuna on Saturday and a win would put it two factors behind chief Atlético Madrid, which faces a derby in opposition to third-place Actual Madrid on Sunday.
Within the match in opposition to Sevilla, Ousmane Dembele additional shed the picture of the participant who in earlier seasons was damage inclined and erratic by beginning Barcelona’s comeback with a purpose from past the realm.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen later smothered a penalty shot from Lucas Ocampos, and Gerard Pique then despatched the match into further time by heading in a purpose in stoppage time. As a substitute of Messi offering the winner, Barcelona’s workmanlike Martin Braithwaite loved the glory by heading within the third purpose.
It was a choral efficiency that confirmed the strides Koeman has made with the younger gamers he has shepherded alongside since his arrival. Pedri González and Frenkie de Jong dictated the midfield, Sergiño Dest attacked on the flank, and Óscar Mingueza held agency within the three-man backline.
Barcelona’s presidential election will come a day after the match in opposition to Osasuna. Membership members will select between three candidates — former president Joan Laporta, former board member Toni Freixa and businessman Víctor Font. None have publicly dedicated to protecting Koeman as coach, and the opportunity of former participant Xavi Hernández returning to the membership, probably as coach, was one of many central matters in a debate between the candidates this week.
Koeman signed a two-season contract with Barcelona final 12 months. The membership fired two coaches final season, its first to complete with no title since 2007-08.
The election comes with Barcelona in its worst second in effectively over a decade. Already dealing with debt of greater than 1.1 billion euros ($1.3 billion), the membership’s status took one other blow this week when Josep Bartomeu, the membership president till he resigned in October, was arrested on suspicion of irregularities throughout his administration.
However beneath all of the chaos and noise, Koeman has been doing his work on the sphere.
“The staff is rising with the modifications we now have made, giving possibilities to younger gamers,” Koeman stated. “The staff performs effectively on the assault, however above all we now have improved in protection. We’re sturdy, we run extra, and stress tougher. I feel that there are good issues to come back.”
This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.