Soccer

Roberto Martinez addresses Barcelona rumours as Koeman cancels press conference

Roberto Martinez insists speculation linking him with the Barcelona job are just rumours after Ronald Koeman refused to answer questions at a press conference on Wednesday.

The Catalan club have made a disappointing start to the new season after a wounding summer in which they failed to adequately strengthen their squad and lost Lionel Messi on a free transfer to PSG.

Barca were heavily beaten by Bayern Munich in the Champions League last week and then only mustered a 1-1 draw at home to Granada on Monday evening.

Koeman has been criticised for his tactics and selections – he brought on centre-back Gerard Pique as an auxiliary forward against Granada – and Barca’s board held an emergency meeting to discuss the managerial situation after the game.

For now the Dutchman will still be in the dugout against Cadiz on Thursday, but at his pre-match press conference he made the rather bizarre decision to refuse to answer any questions, reading out a pre-prepared statement before walking off.

‘Hello everyone, the club is with me as the coach in a situation of rebuilding. The financial situation of the club is connected to the sporting activities and vice versa,’ he said.

‘This means that we as a team have to rebuild the football team without being able to make any big financial investments, this needs time.

‘The young talent today could end up being the next big world stars in just a few years. In order to reconstruct this team means that young players get opportunities, like Xavi and Andres Iniesta had in their day, but we must ask for patience.

‘What’s more, being in a high ranking in the league would be a success. This is a great footballing school for these talents. In the Champions League we can’t hope for miracles. The defeat to Bayern last week has to be focused from that perspective.

‘The process that we are in right now, the staff with the team, deserves unconditional support, in word and in actions.

‘Well as you can imagine there is nothing, nothing to comment for me,’ the Spaniard told Eurosport on Wednesday. ‘Obviously rumours, they are always there, it’s normal in football.

‘When you lose three games the rumours are that you are going to lose your job. When things are going well, you are doing good results, the rumours will always be there, but it’s nothing for me to comment on at this point.’

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