Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has furiously attacked the LaLiga chiefs this season in planning his side’s away games, claiming that the constant kick-off at 9pm local time is a hindrance to the club.
Two of Barcelona’s three away games this season – a defeat to Getafe and a draw against Alaves – took place on a Saturday night at 8pm UK time, while the other kicked off Thursday night at 9.30pm local time. win in Celta Vigo in early October.
The Catalan giants face a massive LaLiga clash as they face Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday – again at 9pm local time – and Koeman insists such a schedule is not tenable for a Champions League club.
Ronald Koeman has attacked the LaLiga chiefs in planning his squad’s away games
Two of Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s three away games this season took place on Saturday at 9 p.m. local time
‘I don’t understand why all the matches we played outside are at 9 p.m.’, a visibly furious Koeman was quoted by Mundo Deportivo prior to the match against Diego Simeone’s men.
‘In countries such as Ukraine and Russia, all games are played at 7 p.m. and we have to play at 9 p.m. This schedule does not help a large team that has to fight every three days.
‘I can understand that Atletico Madrid and Barca are playing at the moment because it is a big game that everyone wants to watch.
‘But the rest of the away games are also on Saturday at 9 p.m., you come home very late and then you have to play on Tuesday.
That included the loss in Getafe, which was then followed by a Champions League game on Tuesday
And Koeman maintains that such a schedule is not tenable for a club that competes in Europe
‘That doesn’t help athletes who have to play every three days. You have to think more about big clubs and the players. ‘
The Getafe game last month was followed by a Champions League draw at home against Ferencvaros on the following Tuesday, which Barcelona won comfortably 5-1.
The Basque Country draw against Alaves was also followed by another European home game against Dynamo Kyiv, which again resulted in a 2-1 victory.
Koeman now faces a huge challenge when his party takes on Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid
Koeman’s men are currently eighth in LaLiga, six points behind third place Atletico, who are themselves three points less than leader Real Sociedad.
Philippe Coutinho returns to Barcelona after the hamstring injury he sustained in last month’s defeat to El Clasico.
Ansu Fati and Sergio Busquets will both miss out though, as the former underwent knee surgery earlier this week and is expected to be out for four months, while the latter sustained a ligament sprain in Spain against Switzerland.
The Dutchman is expected to welcome Philippe Coutinho from a hamstring injury