Laporta says Koeman will keep job as Barcelona coach

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MADRID — Barcelona’s club president quashed reports of the imminent firing of Ronald Koeman on Saturday when he said that the Dutch coach will keep his job.

“Koeman will continue being the coach of Barcelona,” Joan Laporta said hours before Barcelona’s match at Atletico Madrid that many reports in the Spanish media speculated could be Koeman’s last.

“Today, regardless of the result, Koeman will still be Barcelona’s coach,” Laporta told reporters in Madrid. “He has a contract, (and) we hope that he can get us back on the winning path, playing the way we want. I know he will give it his all.”

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It was the first public statement Laporta has made since a bitter 3-0 loss at Benfica on Wednesday sparked various reports that Koeman’s days were numbered.

Barcelona has lost both its Champions League matches without generating a single shot on target and is under threat of failing to qualify for the knockout rounds for the first time in 20 years.

Koeman himself said on Friday that he imagined that the rumors of his exit were “probably true.”