Joan Laporta and his right-hand man Rafa Yuste shared lunch with Ronald Koeman at the Via Veneto restaurant in Barcelona on Thursday afternoon, two days after the calamitous 3-3 draw at Levante that virtually killed the Blaugrana’s title challenge. They ate for two-and-a-half hours before leaving in the same car, all smiles.
The club played down the importance of the meeting, according to Mundo Deportivo. It was simply one of a number of conversations the president and coach have held in the past few months, and Koeman has been planning for next season alongside sporting director Mateu Alemany. Laporta wanted Koeman’s breakdown of the poor end-of-season run that saw Barcelona fall out of the race having collected five points from 12.
Laporta asked Koeman to set his teams up with more bravery, with a greater emphasis on building play in the final third and scoring more goals. Laporta appreciates the work the Dutchman has done since taking over last summer in the midst of crisis, especially being able to win the Copa del Rey. It’s not yet known whether Laporta will retain Koeman beyond the end of this season, but clarity is expected in the coming weeks.