Ronald Koeman Blames Barcelona Loss To Atletico Madrid On Teenager
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Ronald Koeman showed more signs of the pressure getting to him as Barcelona manager, as he blamed one youngster for Atletico Madrid's opener on Saturday night.
On Saturday night things didn't get better for him, or the team, as they came up against La Liga champions Atleti at the Wanda Metropolitano.
The Catalan side already didn't look like title rivals for Diego Simeone's team and they went down 2-0 in the Spanish capital, thanks to goals from Thomas Lemar and, typically, former Barca striker Luis Suarez.
After the match, Koeman blamed the opener on young midfielder Nico Gonzalez, who was making just his second start in a La Liga game.
"You cannot leave so much space when we lost the ball," the Dutchman told Movistar.
"We had spoken exactly about that, our midfielders needed to follow their men – and Nico let Lemar run for their opening goal."
One of the few positives from Koeman's spell in charge at the Nou Camp has been the use of youngsters, though sometimes it has been as much about necessity.
Calling out a 19-year-old after the match isn't exactly a good look for the manager, and suggests signs that he isn't coping well under the pressure.
Fellow teenager Gavi also started the game, whilst Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo and Oscar Mingueza kept the average age of the starting XI pretty low.
Koeman could not have been a happy man during the game, especially when Suarez scored, having been the man to jettison the Uruguayan out of the club.
The former Everton manager rang Suarez last summer to tell the 34-year-old that he was no longer needed at the club. They wanted to sell him to Juventus but had to sell him to a title rival.
Suarez then helped Simeone's side become champions last season and after scoring on Saturday it appeared as if he was mocking Koeman, when he made a phone call during his celebration.