90min
FC Barcelona

Ronald Koeman claims Barcelona can't play 'tiki-taka' after 54 crosses against Granada

Tom Gott
Ronald Koeman is not happy with criticism of his tactics
Ronald Koeman is not happy with criticism of his tactics / Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images
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Under-fire Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has questioned how he can be expected to play like the side that dominated football in the early 2010s with the squad he has at his disposal.

Koeman has been criticised by president Joan Laporta for his reluctance to conform to the team's preferred style of tiki-taka, the short passing system set up by Pep Guardiola and deployed to perfection as the team won the Champions League in 2009 and 2011.

It's a far cry from the 54 crosses Barcelona put in in Sunday's 1-1 draw with Granada, which saw centre-back Gerard Pique playing as an auxiliary attacker alongside Luuk de Jong. Ronald Araujo netted a late equaliser, but fans were still audibly unhappy with the way the team had played.

"We had to look for another way to draw or win with Pique and Araujo," said Koeman after the game (via Goal). "We did everything to win the game.

"Our basic system is 4-3-3 and we played the first half like that. We always try to play using our style, but if the game asks for a change, we have to do it. It also depends on the players that we lack. We decided to play more on the outside and cross the ball with players who can get up high.

"If you see the squad list, what do you want me to do? Play tiki-taka where there is no space? It is important to play with our style from the beginning, but there were no spaces and no players for one-on-one or to attack at speed. I'm not going to say more, because it seems that I have to give arguments for everything."

Well, he did say more, and his final statement was damning of Barcelona's fall from grace.

"We know that this maybe isn't Barcelona's football, but this isn't the Barcelona of eight years ago," he concluded.

Those in charge at Camp Nou are giving serious consideration to parting ways with Koeman, and sources have confirmed to 90min that one of their dream replacements would be Leicester City boss Brendan Rodgers.

Other targets, such as Xavi, Joachim Low, Andrea Pirlo, Antonio Conte, Roberto Martinez and Phillip Cocu, are under consideration as well, with Barcelona keen to have a long-term manager lined up before cutting ties with Koeman.

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