Ronald Koeman lays into referee after being sent off as pressure mounts at Barcelona

Ronald Koeman lays into referee after being sent off as pressure mounts at Barcelona
Koeman and Frenkie de Jong were shown red cards in the goalless draw with Cadiz

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman criticised the refereeing in La Liga after he and Frenkie de Jong were sent off in their goalless draw with Cadiz.

De Jong was handed two yellow cards in the second half and Koeman was dismissed for a comment he made to the fourth official. The draw leaves Barcelona seventh in the league, heaping pressure on the manager to save the struggling club’s season.

“I was sent off for telling the fourth official that there was a second ball on the pitch and the game should be stopped,” Koeman said after the game.

“Everyone saw that except the referee. In this country, they send you off for nothing… They say [it’s for] ‘attitude, attitude’. It is better we leave it there because it’s not my problem.”

And when asked about his future at Barca, he said: “It’s not just about the result, you have to analyse the attitude and the work rate.

“I can’t complain. We’ve had four or five chances and we haven’t scored, so for that reason I am not happy. But what I will take with me is the attitude of the team and not my personal situation.”

The sending-off means Koeman will see out a touchline ban for Barca’s game against Levante on Sunday. The pressure may be on Koeman to come up with results but his players came out with fighting talk after the draw.

Gerard Pique told Movistar: “I’m not here wearing the Barca shirt to come second or third. I am here to compete for every trophy.

“And I am convinced, despite the start we’ve made, that we will compete. The team’s motivated. Sometimes you have to go through these moments. We know the fans are with us despite the situation, which is complicated for everyone. It’s been 12 years at the top. Now we all have to stick together. We will compete until the end, don’t doubt that.”

Earlier this week, Koeman refused to take questions at a press conference, instead reading out a prepared statement in which he called for support.

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