Soccer-Barcelona coach Koeman feels unfairly treated but wants to stay


FILE PHOTO: La Liga Santander - FC Barcelona Training - Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona, Spain - May 7, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman during training REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman said he has been mistreated by the media after the team's poor run of results that has all but put them out of contention in the Spanish title race, adding that he wanted to stay in charge next season if the club want him to.

The Catalans practically surrendered their chances of catching La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid after drawing 3-3 at Levante on Tuesday and trail them by four points with two games left.

They have to beat Celta Vigo in their final home game on Sunday but even if they do, their hopes will be ended if Atletico Madrid beat Osasuna.

"We won the Copa del Rey, we cut the gap with Atletico down by 12 points to fight for the title, but then if you look at the press coverage in the last few days it seems as if I've done a bad job," Koeman told a news conference on Saturday.

"It's not fair that one day everything seemed perfect and two weeks later everything is horrible."

Koeman has another year left on his Barca contract and said he would discuss his future with club president Joan Laporta later this month.

"We have agreed to talk at the end of the season," added the Dutchman.

"It's very important for a coach to work in a club where he has absolute confidence. If that's the case, I can and I'd like to stay."

Former Barca defender Koeman succeeded Quique Setien as coach last August, when Laporta's predecessor Josep Maria Bartomeu was at the helm of the club.

His side took only 14 points from their opening 10 games but staged an impressive turnaround to haul themselves back into the title race.

They won the Copa del Rey in April with an emphatic 4-0 win over Athletic Bilbao, but their season unravelled after they lost 2-1 at home to Granada, blowing their chance to unseat leaders Atletico.

Barca have also had a disappointing season in the Champions League, losing 5-2 to Paris St Germain on aggregate in the last-16.

"I'm very happy with what we've done if you consider all the difficulties we've had, although we're still disappointed to not have taken the chances we had to become league leaders," Koeman added.

(Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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