Sacking Koeman won’t solve our problem, says De Jong

Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has said sacking under-fire manager, Ronald Koeman would not solve the club’s problems.

The La Liga giants crashed to a 3-0 defeat to Benfica in the Champions League.

Barcelona have made a poor start to the season, languishing in sixth spot in La Liga, five points off the leaders, Real Madrid, and suffering back-to-back 3-0 defeats in the Champions League after losing their opener to Bayern Munich.

The Barcelona president, Joan Laporta, backed Koeman last week but said the board would not shirk tough decisions if they needed to be made.

“I don’t think changing the coach is the solution,” De Jong said. “I can’t talk about Koeman, it’s not my place. We have to keep fighting, stay together and overcome this situation. We can only escape this with hard work and being united as a team.”

Koeman said the players were still behind him but added that he did not know whether the board felt the same after the Benfica game.

“As I’ve said just the other day, regarding my future I can’t say anything,” Koeman said. “Because I don’t know what the club is thinking in this respect, and I don’t want to answer any more questions on this because it is not in my hands. We’ll see.”

Two goals from Darwin Núñez and a Rafa Silva strike gave Benfica a deserved win, but Koeman said the difference between the teams was that one took their chances and the other did not. “It’s a tough result to take, and it’s not what we saw on the pitch,” he said.

The result leaves Barcelona bottom of Group E, four points adrift of Benfica and one behind Dynamo Kyiv, who lost 5-0 at Bayern.

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