Manzano is testing alternative options at right back

Sílvio's persistent groin injury is forcing the coach to get creative

Juanfran may have to fill in for Sílvio on Saturday  (

Juanfran may have to fill in for Sílvio on Saturday

Atlético’s starting right back Sílvio is having a hard time staying on the field these days.

The 24-year-old’s nagging groin injury prevents him from playing two consecutive matches, a situation that is starting to cause some headaches at the Vicente Calderón.

The versatile full back travelled with the Portuguese national team during the international break, but was left on the bench as a precautionary measure in both of their games.

Spanish paper AS got in touch with Portugal team doctor Henrique Jones, who admitted Sílvio isn’t fully fit.

“On Monday, we performed a test involving changes of pace and acceleration,” said Dr. Jones. “It was positive, but not as good as we would have liked for him to undertake a match against Denmark.

“Sílvio has improved, but he is not one hundred per cent recovered and Portugal didn’t want to take any risks with him.”

According to AS, the defender is a doubt for our trip to Granada.

Luis Amaranto Perea has served as Sílvio’s backup this season but, after a series of shaky performances from the Colombian outside his comfort zone in the centre, Manzano seems to be pondering other options.

It was reported earlier in the week that Atleti winger Juanfran, who has spent a significant amount of time on the bench this year, had been lined up in a right back position in a practice match against the reserves during the break.

The first team won the clash 3-0.

In a press conference on Wednesday, the former Osasuna man was quoted by AS as saying, “As of today, my situation isn’t the best one. I would’ve liked to have played more.”

The 26-year-old, who also assured that “sooner or later” he will be “important to this team”, may be getting his wish as early as Saturday.

“I’m prepared one hundred per cent, and I’m very excited to play wherever it may be,” Juanfran said. “I’d be delighted to play as a full back or as a winger, as long as I get to play.”

Other than a healthy Sílvio and perhaps a second chance for Perea, the only thing standing in Juanfran’s way of a new role in our defence is Atlético B right back Abdelkader Oueslati, known simply as Kader.

The 20-year-old Tunisian, who arrived at Atleti when he was 16, was called up by Manzano to train with the first team this week.

Like Juanfran, Kader isn’t a natural right back.

Throughout his young playing career, the Tunisia youth international had played as a centre forward.

According to AS, Milinko Pantic converted him into a full back just this year, where he has played since the beginning of the current campaign.

“Little by little, I’m adapting and each time I feel more comfortable in that position,” Kader told AS.

If Sílvio is unavailable for Saturday’s clash in Granada, it will be very interesting to see who Manzano decides to go with in his stead.

Perea has the most experience on the flank, but is limited offensively. Should he be given another shot?

Juanfran is a Primera División veteran, but can he adapt so quickly to a defensive role?

Kader lacks experience competing at the highest level and isn’t a natural right back, can he step up to the challenge?

  • 1982 Vallecas

    Anyone but Perea will be welcomed for that position! Maybe it is a good opportunity for Juanfran

  • Flo

    Yes I hope Juanfran takes the opportunity.

  • not_PEREA_plz

    kader from the cantera also can make a good begin, give him a chance manzano like we did in the past for camacho, de gea, koke… like always!!!

  • starvs

    1) I would love to see Juan Fran succeed at RB, I like him and would be happy to see him get more minutes. All around utility right sided player + DJ is a valuable addition to any team.

    2) Abdelkader Oueslati is an awesome name.

  • 92

    Why don’t just try with Pulido and see how that works?. He has more defensive vocations than Juanfran. Juanfran doesn’t have a clue on how to defend. But if Manzano sees in him a option for the RB post then, go ahead.
    Saturday could be just the match for Perea, Granada is a weak team, no offense but they are. So they should not be a threat for us, so it seems the perfect match for Perea as a RB, but only Manzano knows who is going to be the RB on saturday.

  • Urban

    From my field I only know that Lukasz Piszczek was a striker and then in bundesliga he was placed at the right back and he is doing great, his skills with ball and stamina help him a lot when he goes forward.

  • 92

    Urban, why don’t we just sign Piszczek and stop improvising?!.

  • Ringo

    Well, if Piszczek was ‘created’ by improvising, why not try out Juanfran first 🙂
    Although I’d like to see how Kader works out, even though he’s pretty much without any experience…

  • 92

    @Ringo but Juanfran is older that Piszcek, he is also a lefty, so it’s gonna be complicated to convert Juanfran into a RB, even if is only for one game. Manzano has Pulido, who is a “real” defender and if I’m not mistaken he can also play as RB, so I don’t see why is Manzano so keen in trying with Juanfran as RB, but obviously he (Manzano) think Juanfran his gonna do good as RB.
    About Kader, the kid is very promising, he started as a forward, he can play as CF, on the wings whether is on the right or left side, in the midfield, and this season he was promoted to the B team, and Milinko Pantic is using him as a RB something he is not!, he should play as an attacker not a defender!, he (Kader) grew up playing as attacker, I don’t get why Pantic wants to convert him into a RB, probably he (Pantic) thinks Kader is going to become a great RB, but I don’t think they should have switch Kader from a striker to a defender. I think they should instead try with Kader as a striker, I feel he could do great as winger, but that’s Pantic decision and hopefully Kader performs good as a RB.

  • Ringo

    Well, it’s been done before with young and talented players, going from striker to RB or even CB, so I guess Kader could work out, although I have to say I have never seen Kader play, myself.
    What do you mean, lefty? Left footed? If so, I’m pretty sure Juanfran is a ‘righty’. I think you shouldn’t rule out him having any defensive skills and nowadays the offensive skills of wingbacks are almost more important than the defensive skills. So, let’s see how he (eventually) plays as RB, maybe you’re right and he’s terrible, even though one game is not enough to judge, and maybe he does okay to pretty well.

  • 92

    I know that’s it’s been done already with young players, I remember you said that van der Wiel was one of them, also Piszcek according to Chalet is another case. In Kader’s case when he was signed by Atleti in 08, they brought him because they saw potential in him but as a forward, when he was with the juvenil and c teams, his coaches said that he had skills to suceed as a forward, and I assume that it is upfront where he wants to play on the pitch, but if Pantic thinks he’ll suceed as RB, then so be it.
    About Juanfran, well, of course he can play on the right side, but with Osasuna he usually played on the left wing, or left midfield, and with Atleti he has played most of the time on the right side of the field. Perhaps I could be wrong about his defensive skills but who knows?. let’s see if Manzano does place him as RB, and we’ll see how he does.
    But I think that if Pulido is fit and can play as RB, why not giving him a chance?, or why don’t just play Perea?. We are facing Granada not Barcelona, we shouldn’t have any trouble in defeating Granada, the defense is going to be just fine, is the midfield that needs to improve, Falcao needs more crosses, or else he is never gonna score, but let’s see on saturday how does the teams plays without Turan and Silvio.

  • k14

    T.Silva started as an offensive player, and currently he might be the best defender in the world.

    Hope things work out 🙂

  • dgsozkan

    No matter who plays , there will be some risks because except none of the players’ mentioned origin is RB. But the opponent is Granada and I really don’t think that taking some risks will cost us much. So, I believe if we ready to take that risk , we should let our youngsters to get on the stage.
    There are significant amount of successful players who have started their careers with different positions from positions they normally play. For instance , as Guardiola and Cruyff says, most of the players, Barca brought to La Masia, are forwards. They are oriantated to other positions after they joined the youth system. This is not unusual actually,Fenerbahce youth system is applying almost same method.I believe most of you don’t know that Arda has made his first debut as a right back in Manisaspor,Turkey.(on loan)
    About who should play as RB in Granada game , I think Kader or at least Pullido should be considered. It’s a fact that Juanfran wants to play no matter where he plays , but if I were Manzano , I would select one of the youngsters instead of Juanfran or Perea. Especially giving some push to Kader can help him to develop himself.