Ronald Koeman challenges Bern Schuster for the title of Spanish football's most paranoid manager. A sign of how bad things are at Valencia is when the manager starts to see enemies everywhere: in his playing staff, in the press, in the boardroom, in the bedroom …
Actually we made the last one up – but you get the picture.
Not that that Koeman should be surprised; this is Valencia after all. I mean, who in his right mind would think, even for a moment, that a private meeting with a sporting director would stay private… at Valencia!?
Clearly Ronald did, and he let us know as he stormed in to the press room at Valencia’s training ground in Paterna that he was not happy about his ‘private’ meeting with Rafael Salom being plastered across the front pages: "This should have been a secret meeting, but someone from the club was instead responsible for leaking it to the press, this shouldn't happen at any club in the world " seethed an irate Koeman, clearly not getting the hang of how things work in Valencia.
"And I want to tell the culprit to his face: I know who it is!" added The Dutchman, clearly getting the hang of how things work in Valencia.
And Koeman didn’t stop there. He went on, taking a leaf out of Bernd Schuster’s book rather than Dale Carnegie’s: "I have no friends in the media and that's why nobody defends me.”
"But my concern is that the team wins, not to provide news or anything like that," added Koeman, clearly oblivious to the fact that he has delivered more on the latter than he has on the former.
There was even a pause in his diatribe for a pop at David Albelda: "In Valencia if you're a friend of a journalist, you're defended even if you go and sue the club for 60 million euros."
And in full Bernd Schuster mode, the Valencia coach continued: "While I don't like to complain about referees, we could have five more points than we do."
Before leaving a stunned press room, Koeman tried to part on a positive note, stating "There's no fear for my future, because I know that I'll be here for a while, I came to Valencia at an unusual time."
Presumably, by ‘unusual’, Koeman means in fourth place in La Liga.
There was time for one final attempt to dig himself out of his predicament, as Koeman added finally: "the team has improved on the pitch, but there are a few minor details to fix up.”
Minor details...like winning?