Granada the first test for Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman

BILBAO, SPAIN – AUGUST 21: Ronald Koeman, Head Coach of FC Barcelona looks on from the sidelines during the LaLiga Santander match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona at San Mames Stadium on August 21, 2021 in Bilbao, Spain. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

The heat is on for Ronald Koeman as the Barcelona manager reportedly has the next three games to right the ship or else face the axe.

The first of those three games is at home against Granada. This is Barcelona’s first match following the 3-0 debacle against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Granada may sit 17th in the table, but they are not an opponent Barcelona can take lightly. Last season, it was Granada who ultimately ended the Catalans’ title hopes as they won 2-1 at the Camp Nou last April. Had Barcelona won, they would have gone top of the table.

Ronald Koeman does not fear for his managerial future

Publicly, the Dutchman is keeping any sort of doubt hidden as during his pre-match press conference, Koeman said he does not fear for his future.

“A lot depends on the team’s results, but it’s also exaggerated,” Koeman said. There are a lot of changes in the team, players injured, a lot of youngsters. People that know will surely say that we’re going through a change, you need time.

“”But what matters is winning games. There were questions before Bayern if I’m going to renew my contract, we lose 3-0, now there are questions if I fear for my future. I don’t think it’s normal.”

Source: Sport

Whether or not one takes Koeman’s words at face value, the fact of the matter is his tenure could be on its final legs. The image the club left against Bayern was not president Joan Laporta was happy with.

It’s also not like Barcelona were doing that well leading up to the match either. In their last La Liga match, they ended up playing with five at the back, trying to hold on to a one-goal lead against Getafe at home.

Playing Granada is not going to be a walk in the park. The side managed by Roberto Moreno has won two out of the last previous four encounters against Barcelona in La Liga.

Barcelona is not heading into the match at full strength. Jordi Alba was forced off with an injury and is set to miss almost a month. This means Barça B left-back Alejandro Balde may be given his league debut.

To make matters worse, Pedri also suffered an injury and he is going to be out a couple of weeks. Fortunately for Koeman, he has options in midfield with either Sergi Roberto or Gavi taking Pedri’s place. Philippe Coutinho is expected to get a start after seeing some minutes last time out.

But the pressure is on. There was a banner with ‘Koeman Out” on display during the Bayern match before it was taken down. The war of words between him and Laporta is also not helping his cause.

Barcelona’s performance against Granada, and in the two matches after that, will determine Koeman’s future. It’s not simply going to come down to the result either. Barcelona also need to play the type of football its supporters are accustomed to seeing. If it is true that money is not a hinderance to sacking Koeman, any minor slip up may be enough to see him sent packing.

While he is nowhere near the sole person responsible for the mess Barcelona find themselves in, he was the manager appointed by the previous board. Laporta kept him on but with the club needing a revolution, the easiest place to start is with a new person in charge.