Frustrated Ronald Koeman blasts LaLiga bosses for scheduling Barcelona’s away games at 9pm local time and insists it does ‘not help a big team that has to fight every three days’ ahead of huge clash with title rivals Atletico Madrid
- Two of Barcelona’s three away LaLiga games this season have kicked off at 9pm
- The other match was a 9:30pm kick-off local time on a Thursday at Celta Vigo
- Ronald Koeman’s men face Atletico Madrid again at 9pm on Saturday in Madrid
- But Koeman said the schedule is not sustainable for a club competing in Europe
Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has furiously hit out at LaLiga chiefs at the scheduling of his side’s away matches this season, claiming the constant 9pm local time kick-offs are a hindrance to the club.
Two of Barcelona’s three away league fixtures this season – a defeat by Getafe and a draw against Alaves – have taken place on a Saturday night at 8pm UK time, while the other was a 9:30pm local time kick-off on a Thursday in the win at Celta Vigo at the beginning of October.
The Catalan giants face a huge LaLiga clash when they take on Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday – again at 9pm local time – and Koeman insists such scheduling is not sustainable for a Champions League club.
Ronald Koeman has hit out at LaLiga chiefs at the scheduling of his side’s away matches
Two of Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s three away league fixtures this season have taken place on a Saturday at 9pm local time
‘I don’t understand why all the games that we have played away from home are at 9pm,’ a visibly irate Koeman was quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo ahead of the match against Diego Simeone’s men.
‘In countries like Ukraine and Russia all the games are played at 7pm and we have to play at 9pm. This schedule doesn’t help a big team that has to fight every three days.
‘I can understand that Atletico Madrid and Barca play at this time because it’s a big game which everyone wants to watch.
‘But the rest of the away games have also been on Saturday at 9pm, you get home very late, and then you have to play Tuesday.
That included the Getafe loss, which was then followed by a Tuesday Champions League game
And Koeman insists such scheduling is not sustainable for a club competing in Europe
‘This doesn’t help athletes who have to play every three days. You have to think more about big clubs and the players.’
The match at Getafe last month was followed by a Champions League tie at home to Ferencvaros on the following Tuesday, which Barcelona won comfortably 5-1.
The draw in the Basque Country to Alaves was also followed by another home European fixture against Dynamo Kyiv, which again resulted in a 2-1 win.
Koeman now faces a huge challenge when his side take on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid
Koeman’s men currently sit eighth in LaLiga, six points behind third-place Atletico, who themselves have three fewer points than leaders Real Sociedad.
Philippe Coutinho is set to return to the Barcelona side following the hamstring injury he sustained in last month’s El Clasico defeat.
However, Ansu Fati and Sergio Busquets will both miss out, with the former undergoing knee surgery earlier this week and is expected to be out for four months, while the latter sustained a ligament sprain on Spain duty against Switzerland.
The Dutchman is expected to welcome back Philippe Coutinho from a hamstring injury