Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman used his press conference on Wednesday to read out a pre-prepared personal statement regarding the club’s situation, before leaving without answering any questions.
Koeman’s message was that the underperforming club were in a period of transition and the process required patience.
The Dutchman’s job has been the subject of much speculation following Barcelona’s slow start to the season, which has included a 3-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League that saw Koeman’s team fail to register a shot on target, and a draw against Granada at the Nou Camp that left the Catalan side eighth in LaLiga.
Speaking ahead of the league match at Cadiz on Thursday, Koeman said the club trusted him to lead the team through the changing times and the focus would be on young players.
“The club is with me in what is a process of reconstruction,” began the statement.
“The financial situation of the club is linked to the sporting performance of the team. That means that we have to rebuild the team without big money to spend and we need time.
“The young talents can be big starts in a couple of years and the good thing about rebuilding the team is that the young players will get their chance just as Xavi and (Andreas) Iniesta had theirs in their day. But patience is necessary.”
Setting the bar low for this season, Koeman continued: “Finishing in a high position this season will be a success.
“European football is a good school for these young players but miracles cannot be expected in the Champions League. Last week’s defeat to Bayern Munich has to be seen with that perspective.’
Koeman sat bespectacled and head bowed as he carefully read the prepared speech. His decision to do so comes a day after club president Joan Laporta addressed fans with a specially prepared message.
“The process that we are in with the squad deserves to be unconditionally backed in both word and deed. I know that the media understand this process.
“This is not the first time this has happened in the club’s history. We count on your support in this difficult time.”
Wednesday represented another strange chapter in Barcelona’s recent history and one that could have ramifications for Koeman’s already rocky relationship with the board.
Koeman was appointed by the club’s previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu last summer but the re-election of Joan Laporta in March was always likely to prompt a change of direction at the Nou Camp.
His relationship with Laporta has become more strained after he criticised the president in an interview with Dutch media, saying he “says too much”.
Laporta has released two videos in the past week on social media addressing fans on the team’s predicament and also asking for them to be patient while the club deals with its colossal debt, which led to Lionel Messi leaving this summer to join Paris St Germain.