He needs time - Guardiola backs Koeman to get Barca back on track

By Sports Desk October 23, 2020

Pep Guardiola believes Ronald Koeman "needs a little more time" to get Barcelona playing the way he wants as the first Clasico of the season looms this weekend.

There was a time when Guardiola and Koeman were team-mates and room-mates for away trips with Barcelona, going their separate ways in 1995 when Koeman left for Feyenoord,

They are said to have remained close and Guardiola wants Koeman to turn Barcelona back into a winning machine in Spain after the turbulence of the 2019-20 season.

On Saturday, Koeman will take charge of his first Clasico as a head coach, making him the seventh Dutch boss to lead Barcelona into the prestigious LaLiga fixture.

Of those six Dutchmen who have preceded him, only Louis van Gaal was able to win his first Clasico - a 3-2 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1997, for which captain Guardiola was absent through injury.

An early season stumble from Barcelona has seen them fail to win either of their last two LaLiga games, drawing 1-1 with Sevilla before losing 1-0 to Getafe last weekend.

Yet Guardiola, who coached Barcelona to 14 trophies in four years from 2008 to 2012, believes the circumstances are so abnormal this season, with last term having been heavily disrupted and the close season cut short, that any new boss would deserve time to implement his plans.

"Sometimes you need a little bit of time to get everything," Guardiola said. "Especially with Barcelona with Ronald, that being new he needs a little bit more time.

"But I'm pretty sure they will get it to where they want."

Guardiola does not expect to catch Saturday's match, given it clashes with his Manchester City team's return from their lunchtime trip to face West Ham in London.

"At 3pm we are flying back to Manchester!" Guardiola said.

The last time Barcelona went three LaLiga games without a win was early in the 2018-19 season under the leadership of Ernesto Valverde.

They will be taking on a Madrid side who are going through their own problems, having lost to Cadiz in LaLiga last weekend before slumping to a 3-2 Champions League defeat against Shakhtar Donetsk.

"Normally at the beginning of the season the big clubs maybe struggle a little bit," Guardiola said.

"But they will get their own rhythm, their own path, and I think sooner or later, both teams will be winning games in a row, and they will be getting back in normal positions that every season they are in all competitions."

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