It’s fair to say Ronald Koeman has a pretty tough job on his hands at Barcelona.
After the club's first trophyless campaign since the 2007/08 season and an embarrassing 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-final, Barca are in a bit of a mess.
Then there’s the political problems with president Josep Maria Bartomeu becoming public enemy No.1 at the Camp Nou.
Oh, and the small matter that Lionel Messi demanded to leave before changing his mind.
So, how does Koeman even begin to transform Barcelona both on and off the pitch?
Well, Spanish outlet, SPORT, have revealed the 10 commandments the Dutch boss will stick to as he attempts to implement his new philosophy.
Koeman has already told Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal that they’re not in his plans. He won’t pick his XI based on names or reputation but on those who work hard and show quality. The Dutch manager certainly isn’t scared to make unpopular decisions.
2. Physical Preparation
Koeman has already identified that Barcelona’s fitness levels aren’t up to scratch. He wants to use methods he used at Everton and Southampton to cope with the intensity of an entire season. New fitness coach Albert Roca will play a big role in that.
3. Dead Balls
Who better to teach about the importance of dead balls than set-piece specialist, Koeman? He is one of the greatest free-kick takers of all-time, scoring 60 during his career.
4. High Press
Under Pep Guardiola, Barca were synonyms with the high press. But with an ageing squad, they’ve lost that identity and now drop deep without the ball. Koeman wants to get the high press back ASAP.
Good news for Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati. Koeman is keen to use La Masia graduates in Barcelona's first-team - but only if they’re good enough. Koeman has previously demonstrated his willingness to give youngsters the opportunity to impress.
6. United Dressing Room
Koeman may not be able to sort out what’s going on above him which gives the Dutchman greater motivation to ensure the dressing room is as harmonious as possible.
‘Mes que un club.’
Koeman will demand that all players and staff behave like a Barcelona representative should. He wants good manners, respect and professionalism. Not just when they’re at the club but 24/7.
8. System And Speed
Koeman wants, where possible, players to take two touches maximum when attacking with pace. He believes Barca have suffered from their build-up play being too slow. He will therefore ask players to take risks and be brave.
Koeman will be asking the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Frenkie de Jong, Philippe Coutinho, Nelson Semedo, Antoine Griezmann and Junior Firpo to show the quality that convinced the club to sign them. He wants them to step up, believe in themselves and play bigger roles in his side.
10. Leo Messi
The elephant in the room. Or should we say ‘The goat in the room’?
After his first chat with Koeman, Messi decided he wanted to leave but has since changed his mind. Now, Koeman is hoping the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will help lead his project and be completely on board with his plans. In truth, a lot depends on whether the Argentine rally buys into Koeman or not. If he does and the rest of the squad follows the 10 commandments, Koeman really could turn this Barca squad around.
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