Leeds United wing-back Junior Firpo joined the club from Barcelona this summer and the player has alleged that his former boss Ronald Koeman lied to him at the Camp Nou
Leeds United wing-back Junior Firpo has accused his former Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman of lying to him and attempting to destroy his enthusiasm for football.
The former Spain Under-21 international moved to Elland Road this summer following a two-year stint at the Catalan giants, the second season of which was spent under the Dutchman.
Koeman was appointed at the Camp Nou in the summer of 2020 but his tenure in the dugout was an unsuccessful one, despite leading the side to last season’s Copa del Rey crown.
Barca finished third in the league and exited the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage, with Junior making just 18 first-team appearances throughout the season.
The situation deteriorated further this campaign with Koeman dismissed after successive La Liga losses against Real Madrid and Rayo Vallecano at the end of October.
As things stand, Barca languish in seventh spot in the Spanish top-flight and are out of the Champions League group stages for the first time since the 2000/01 campaign.
Junior – who has made eight appearances for Leeds so far this campaign – has now hit out at Koeman in a stinging attack.
The former Real Betis player accused the Dutch boss of lying to him regarding his lack of involvement and revealed that Koeman told him he was “contaminating” the squad due to his effort in training.
Junior told an interview with Spanish radio station Cadena Ser: “I came to lose my enthusiasm for football and I realised the importance of family.
“There were things with Koeman that I did not understand, and at certain times there was disrespect for me and my teammates.
“I ask him why I am not playing, and he starts to lie to me.
“At that point, why would I keep asking him for reasons; he tells me things that don’t make sense, like that I am training badly, that I contaminate the group!
“Ask who you want – let’s see if any of the staff tells you the same about me.
“I do not know what it means that I contaminate the group, I suppose it would refer to my attitude.
“I do not know in what way a young boy who has just arrived is going to contaminate a group that has won everything and has been there all their careers.
“My opinion is not going to change their way of training at all or anything else.”
Junior also revealed that Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa is much more rigorous in his preparation for matches than any of the coaches he had at Barcelona.
The wing-back played under Ernesto Valverde, Quique Setien and Koeman, but that none ever showed the Barca squad videos of the opposition teams.
He added: “We did not see videos of the rival, neither with Valverde, nor Quique nor with Koeman.
“With Bielsa we see them a lot, it is from one extreme to another.”
Junior will be hoping to establish himself as a regular in the left-back role in Bielsa’s side this campaign.