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Sport

Soccer-Barca different club now, says Koeman

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Champions League - Group G - FC Barcelona v Juventus - Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain - December 8, 2020 FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Albert Gea

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Barcelona fans and observers must accept that the team are no longer favourites to win every game, coach Ronald Koeman said on Tuesday, adding that he is still struggling to accept certain attitudes to how the team should play.

Barca face La Liga leaders Real Sociedad on Wednesday hoping to build on their slender 1-0 victory over Levante after suffering painful defeats by Cadiz and Juventus and making their worst start to a league season in 33 years.

“The pressure here is huge, everyone demands that you must win every game,” Koeman told a news conference.

“But the club’s situation is different right now and you have to accept that we can’t win all the time.”

Koeman had a spiky exchange with a reporter after the Levante game over bringing on defender Samuel Umtiti to protect Barca’s lead late in the game, a move some observers felt was at odds with the club’s usual attacking philosophy.

He brought up the confrontation again to illustrate the demands placed on him.

“I can understand criticism when you lose four or five games but the other day I was criticised for bringing on a defender in the last few minutes, and I could not understand that because we just wanted to win,” he added.

“But we cannot be happy with our results so far, we’ve lost games we shouldn’t have lost. We are trying to improve things and the result we got the other day was very important.

“The team worked hard and showed a good attitude, and I hope the three points give us the peace of mind we need for tomorrow’s game.”

Reporting by Richard Martin; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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