Ronald Koeman defends Samuel Umtiti following Barcelona loss

Samuel Umtiti of FC Barcelona. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images)
Samuel Umtiti of FC Barcelona. (Photo by Fran Santiago/Getty Images) /

Barcelona will need to turn around a 2-0 deficit in the return leg.

The Copa del Rey semifinal did not go as Barcelona planned as they came away with a 2-0 defeat at the Sánchez Pizjuán.

A number of players faced heavy criticism for their performances in the loss with French center-back, Samuel Umtiti, being singled out.

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Umtiti had a hand in both of Sevilla’s goal. He was nutmegged in the lead up to Jules Kounde’s opener and he slipped and kept Ivan Rakitic onside for the second goal.

He has not had a good time of it as he was also responsible for Granada’s two goals in the quarterfinals.

Amidst all the criticism, manager Ronald Koeman has come out and stood up for his defender.

"“We left a lot of space in the first goal, not just in defense, but from the midfield,” Koeman said in his post match press conference.“And in the second goal we have not done a good job creating the offside. Umtiti was good in the game. He made mistakes like everyone else does.“It’s part of football. It’s not fair to go after him. We all lose and we all win together.”Source: Goal"

A number of things had to go wrong for Sevilla’s opener and one can argue it is more of what Kounde was able to do than anything. He did get past a couple of Barcelona players before he reached Umtiti.

In the second goal, Sevilla was able to exploit the disjointedness of the defense and midfield. Junior Firpo had gone up to join the attack leaving the right side of defense exposed. It’s where Rakitic was open for the pass.

However, at this point of his Barcelona career, it is not out of the question to say that Umtiti has become a liability. Far gone are the days of him being an elite defender. The player he was prior to the 2018 World Cup is now gone.

Opting for conservative treatments on his knee instead of surgery was a mistake. He simply hasn’t been the player he was when he first arrived at Barcelona.

Koeman still appears to trust in him, publicly at least. But he is going to have a tough choice to make come the PSG game.

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With Ronald Araujo racing against time to be fit, will Koeman opt for a half-fit Araujo or roll the dice with Umtiti?