Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman has faced questions over his reaction to his team’s 4-1 Champions League humbling by Paris Saint-Germain after the Dutchman was spotted laughing on the sidelines following the final whistle.
Barca were routed at the Nou Camp as PSG star Kylian Mbappe ran riot, netting a hat-trick as his team firmly took control of the last 16 tie against their Spanish rivals.
Lionel Messi had given the hosts the lead from the penalty spot on 27 minutes but after that it was all one-way traffic as Mbappe’s treble and a goal from fellow PSG forward Moise Kean left Barca with a mountain to climb in the return leg in Paris on March 10.
Despite the nature of the defeat, after the match Koeman was seen smiling and laughing with PSG midfielder Idrissa Gueye – whom he previously managed at Everton.
— Barça Universal (@BarcaUniversal) February 16, 2021
Some fans latched onto the images to rip into Koeman.
“That’s not the Barca way,” wrote one person on Twitter, sharing the incriminating clip, while another claimed he was “disgusted” by the jovial scenes.
Wow! #Koeman laughing and joking at the end of that hammering.
— Gordon Fraser (@Willsandbells) February 16, 2021
What disgusted me the most was koeman laughing at full time. Even the pundit was like it was as if he had just had tea at gueye house not lost 4-1 at home in UCL. That tells all you need to know about the Mickey mouse mentality at this club. #BarcaPsg
— Football Sense (@FootballSense2) February 16, 2021
“Koeman was literally laughing at the end of the match. [Joan] Laporta should sack him as soon as he is president,” wrote another fan.
“Nah how is Koeman laughing and smiling after that result?” pondered another observer, while one person questioned “why is this guy the manager of Barcelona?”
Nah how is Koeman laughing and smiling like that after that result
— Billy Goatmour (@goatmour_billy) February 16, 2021
Wtf? Koeman is laughing and he lost 4-1, this guy is awful. He’s just been destroyed and he is laughing it off. How is this guy the manager of Barcelona?
— FV Football 🇺🇾🇦🇷 (@Football_FV) February 16, 2021
Others defended Koeman over his interaction with his former player, with one pundit writing that the Dutchman was within his rights to laugh given the mess he inherited when stepping into the Nou Camp hotseat last summer.
“Ronald Koeman laughing his hole off after losing 4-1 at home. He knows what he took over and why he’s there. Don’t blame him.”
Ronald Koeman laughing his hole off after losing 4-1 at home. He knows what he took over and why he’s there. Don’t blame him.
— Michael McCarthy (@McCarthyMick) February 16, 2021
“Should he have cried?” questioned another fan.
should he have cried??????
— 🅲@🆁🆃🅴🆁 (@MichaelKmgz) February 17, 2021
PSG had been without injured star Neymar for Tuesday’s clash and were also missing influential Argentine winger Angel Di Maria.
Nonetheless, Mbappe stepped up spectacularly for Mauricio Pochettino’s man for a clash in which Koeman later accepted his team had been inferior.
“Surely the result reflects how superior they were. They were effective. In the first half it was more even. In the second half we had problems defensively. They proved physically to be very superior to us,” the Dutchman said.
“Particularly in the second half we have to admit that they were superior. They have shown that they have a more complete team than us. We have to accept it, improve things.
“We knew that this could happen because we are playing against a great team, a physical team with experience, for many reasons that is ahead of us.”
Barcelona famously overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit at the same stage of the competition back in 2017, although on that occasion the return leg was at a packed Nou Camp and featured a Barca team inspired by Neymar.
This time around, PSG will hope to have the Brazilian fit in time to feature for them in the second leg in three weeks’ time.