·12 December 2020
·12 December 2020
Ronald Koeman admits he is worried about Barcelona as the cash-strapped, out-of-form, ill-at-ease Camp Nou giants approach the end of a dismal year.
With an interim president in place after Josep Maria Bartomeu walked, the club's finances dealt a shattering blow by the pandemic, and the upcoming January elections perhaps the defining moment that will shape captain Lionel Messi's future, Barca are in a state of dizzying flux.
Koeman could be battling for his job before long too.
As the presidential candidates scramble for popularity, retaining the status quo on the playing side of the club might not be the biggest vote-winner.
Koeman knows there is frustration among the fans, and he said: "I understand them. They have been winning titles and at the top for a long time and now they see us lose to Getafe or Cadiz.
"The situation is complicated at the club and may change in January with the new president.
"Until then, we'll try to get the most out of the team. I don't need support, I accept that the culprit is the coach when there aren't good results. No problem."
Koeman at least believes he has the backing of the players.
"I think so, because I couldn't work without their trust," he said. "I feel comfortable.
"Of course I'm worried about the trajectory. We try to improve, and there is time to react.
"We are in a difficult time at the club, and not only because of the sporting issue. We are looking for the best in every way and I see that the squad are eager and know where we have to go."
Barcelona have been highly erratic so far in 2020-21, and no teams have higher numbers than their total of errors leading to shots (6) and errors leading to goals (3) so far in LaLiga.
They have had more possession than any other side in the Spanish top flight - 63.45 per cent across their games so far - but have failed to put it to efficient use.
Koeman's team have created 111 chances, beaten only by Sevilla (120) and Real Madrid (119), yet the flaws in their game are more conspicuous than the achievements.
Koeman claimed his team had carved out the most opportunities, but Opta data shows that is not quite the case.
The Dutchman, one of Barcelona's finest players in his day, has a thin squad and he pointed to pushing youngsters into action out of necessity bringing stresses and strains.
However, he sees no reason to bring a psychologist into the club. Many teams and individuals across a wide range of sports have benefited from taking such steps, but Koeman feels it would be a bad fit at Barcelona.
"The team have enough personality and experience," said the former Everton and Netherlands boss, whose team play Levante on Sunday.
"I don't believe in psychologists and mental things. If you are at Barca you have to overcome the pressure."