Ronald Koeman admits it was a relief to see speculation over his future as Barcelona head coach ended this week.
On Thursday, Barça president Joan Laporta confirmed Koeman would remain in charge of the first team for the 2021-22 season.
A hero as a player at Camp Nou, Koeman could only secure third place in LaLiga last season as Atlético Madrid won the title, his Copa del Rey success doing little to quieten the doubters.
Xavi linked with top Barcelona role
Laporta had seemed keen to appoint a replacement before next season, with former club captain Xavi reportedly among the favourites for the role, but he announced his support for Koeman following a “reflection period”.
Koeman said the discussions and doubts over his position had been “intense”, but that he was now focused on steering Barca back towards major trophies.
“I am relieved to say my players and staff can fully focus on the new season now,” he said via his Twitter account.
“The last few weeks have been intense, but I am glad that president Joan Laporta gave his support to me and calm has been restored.
“The focus of everyone in the club is the same: building a winning Barça and achieving success!”
Disappointing league finish
Barça allowed the title to slip from their reach after dragging themselves back into contention following a poor start to the season.
They failed to finish in the top two and went two seasons running without winning the title for the first time since 2008.
Their tally of 79 points was their lowest total since the same year, when they managed 67. Indeed, the last coach to earn 76 or fewer points in his first 38 games with the club was Frank Rijkaard in 2003-04 (72 – W21 D9 L8).