Now what?

It has now been over a month since Atlético's last victory

Atlético manager Gregorio Manzano (EFE)

Atlético manager Gregorio Manzano (EFE)

Arda and Sílvio were back. Atlético were at home. It was against Mallorca.

All Atleti had to do was show up right?

Wrong.

It took 20 seconds for everything to go horribly awry, with referee David Fernández Borbalán screwing los Rojiblancos over by harshly calling a hand ball inside the box and awarding Mallorca a gift-wrapped penalty.

Hemed converted and, just like that, faster than Gil Marín could drive a lap around the stadium, our season-long clean sheet at home was wiped away.

There was a complete match worth of time left to be played, but all we could muster was a measly goal from the penalty spot as well.

Two more points down the drain. Six points out of the Champions League zone. Six winless games in a row.

The only silver lining was that we finally managed to get on the scoreboard, but with the goal coming from a spot kick, it’s hardly the sort of thing to get excited about.

Coach Gregorio Manzano, along with our entire offense, is on the hot seat.

Impatient fans are already calling for the former Sevilla boss to be given the boot.

Whether they are premature or justifiable, the coach himself didn’t seem all that surprised by the chants of “Manzano vete ya!” heard at the Vicente Calderón on Sunday, though he did assure he hasn’t considered “resigning at any moment.”

“The fans want their team to win and I understand that they get angry when we don’t,” Manzano said in the post-game press conference.

“A tie today didn’t cross our minds. The situation got difficult when we conceded that goal from an unjust penalty.

“Everyone saw that Sílvio had no intention of blocking the ball with his hand. Then, we had a hard time focussing on the game.

“Towards the end, the players began to show a certain amount of anxiety.”

While we continue to drift further away from a Champions League bid, Manzano insists a berth into the elite European competition remains the club’s primary objective.

“We still have that in mind,” he said. “We have no choice but to win.

“We’re going to Bilbao for the three points.”

Colchoneros, we feel your pain. What is your outlook for the rest of the season? Is this just a temporary slump? Are we doomed? Or, will we recover?


  • dgsozkan

    I hated the idea of Manzano controlling the team at the very moment rumors about Manzano and Atleti started. Nothing has changed since then. I have no problems with players , it’s a fact that we have lost two powerful and talented striker but almost all of our transfers was satisfying.
    On the other hand ,about Manzano,I really but really wonder that how can he combine such a great offensive players and create an offensively handicapped team? We have a great striker, we have talented supporters to create goal chances for him and we have two offensive full backs who use the wings very well but we can not score! It doesn’t even make sense.
    I just cannot trust Manzano.I would love to see a coach who is young and ambitious , good with young players and have some goals for himself. This kind of coach create a succesful team in order to reach his goals. A coach whose life energy is drained would never help any team.But I think board wasn’t agree with this idea when they deciding the new coach. It’s a shame that we cannot even score a goal against Granada, we have only 10 points after 8 games and I actually having troubles to remember our last win.It pisses me of!!!

  • Mais

    Im still optimistic…we are so much more consistent at the back..this time last year we only had 3 more points..i hate to keep thinking that with more time the team will gel better blabla, but i think the team IS better than it was before

    i hope the league levels out this year..tougher for atleti to reach those top spots maybe, but better practice in the long run..im still impressed by the performance against udinese

  • Andres

    I’d like to see a long-term project, so sacking Manzano is not exactly a solution for me. However I thing, there’s i big big problem. We really need success right now, because Gil Marín is counting on that CL money. That’s why he spend so much money for Falcao and other players. If we won’t get to the CL, I think there will no Diego staying, maybe no Courtois for another year and we will have to sell in order to balance the budget…so now what?

  • Urban

    Some players need time to reconsider. Tiago, Mario, Filipe – Imho they play below their potential. I want to see more of young and hungry players like Koke and Salvio. Adrian did great in September but recenlty he is just invisible.

    Falcao cannot be blamed since he doest not get good balls.

    Arda and Reyes look dangerous, Diego has faded a bit but he works very very hard – if you watched game against Mallorca carefully you have noticed he was everywhere, placing himself all the time to get the ball, always wanting to take responsiblity for the play. The highlight of his attitude was a glorius sliding block just outide our penalty box when he stopped a dangerously looking shot.

  • javi

    I think its psychological at this point, just like it happened before. However, if wqe loose or fail to score in Bilbao, the team is going to start looking for a new coach.
    Do we need to start speculating on who that could be? Rafa Benitez?

  • Urban

    I doubt benny would agree, he refused once and his reputation is too damaged to take such a risky post… the problem is its really hard to find a decent replacement at the moment… maybe QSF? just kiddin 😀

  • javi

    The team is good but its starting to look like manzano cant get them to play together anymore…he lost his mojo???

  • 92

    Javi, you’re probably right that the current slip of the team might be psychological and only the players can revert it, but you really think Manzano is in the loose rope?, I think that it would be too harsh if he gets fired, sure he isn’t exactly one of the top 5 coaches in Spain and also we are urged to get good results, but if Cerezo and Caminero brought him thinking that he could build a good team on a long term then I think is better if they let him finish the season.

  • javi

    @92, if we keep going how we are going Mnazano is not going to finish even the first half of the year. The team spent way too much money and acquired very good players all around for us to be performing like this. If you think of it, this is really unacceptable. it would be fine for Espanol, or other teams of that caliber, but not for this team, with this budget, and these type of players. So if we dont change the course of this ship immediately, I think he is gone soon.

  • javi

    He knows it too, just look at his face.

  • 92

    Have to agree that when a football team isn’t getting good results the first person the bosses fire is the coach, but I think Manzano is not the only one responsible for the bad results so far, but what can you do.
    So in case Manzano is fired you speculate with Benitez?, I think he would be a good option, he is a coach that tends to have posession of the ball and play good football, and yeah, his lasts spells weren’t that succesful, but sounds good to me, at the moment let’s just stick with Manzano and let’s hope he stays so that we don’t have to end the current so called “project”.

  • k14

    I’m with Mais, I think the team is doing good.
    Actually, I think this is the first time I have seen Atletico have the potential to win La Liga.
    The fact that we don’t “lose” anymore like every year I have been following Atleti since 2007, means all the team have to do is improve slightly and score just that once to win the three points.
    For some reason everyone saying that the team invested alot of money this year, but in truth, Atleti made about 78Mil, and used less than 65mil.
    Taking about the money made by selling players only, the money that is supposed to be invested back into the squad.

  • Javi

    @k14, I think I need new glasses then because i dont see the same team that you do
    I see a team that is solid from Cortouis to the midfield but from there forward-were we spent most- it’s chaotic and uninspired boring soccer. Seeing this after the first few games of the season is exasperating.

  • 7th

    i have to agree with javi.

    we are perfect from the goalie to strikers, but we are not able to score or creating as many chances as we should.

    our only option for scoring is from set pieces or from crosses.

    when gabi,diego, or arda go to the opponent’ half, they dont know or cant get chance to pass since every mid are behind. therefore, diego or arda are being isloated.

    we cant make an organized attacks. that is my conclusion. I dont expect us to score anymore from any attack unless it was crosses or from set pieces.

  • GS Fan 1905

    Hello everyone,

    It’s interesting reading everyone’s points of view on the current Atleti situation.

    I also have my thoughts/observations, which I would like to share. An outsider’s point of view as it were.

    The one thing I see clearly from the getgo is how isolated Falcao is up front. I feel he would greatly benefit from a strike partner, someone who could run channels or hold the ball to provide support play.

    Alternatively, Manzano could play Diego and Arda right in behind Falcao. Reyes and Salvio can play the wings from a slightly deeper postion and Tiago or Suarez can hold the fort in a defensive mid role. So, essentially we are looking at a 4-1-4-1 lineup here.

    I feel the team is quality but the 4-3-3 isn’t really working out. Just my two cents.

  • 92

    k14, where can I get them magic glasses at?!, just kidding!, but c’mon man get real, this season we are not gonna win La Liga and not even next season, just look at Madrid, every year they keep on spending tons of money and they keep on finishing in second place, yeah they won the cup AND?, I’m not sure Madrid fans are happy, although they could win every single trophy this year, I hope they don’t.
    Getting back to Atleti just because we haven’t lose in while you are forgetting we aren’t getting the 3 points we are suppose to, I know we’re gonna improve eventually and perhaps we may be able to qualify for CL but to say we’re gonna win La Liga, that just seems mission imposible 4.

  • 92

    GS Fan 1905, I like your observations, and I agree, Falcao needs support because yeah he is pretty lone upfront, and needs to be in more contact with the ball, perhaps Adrian can join him upfront, and as you said run channels and hold the ball for him.
    I also like your 4-1-4-1 lineup, I think if we use that formation we could create more chances for Falcao, the problem is that Mario and Tiago aren’t in good shape at the moment, but the lineup it could still work, althoug I don’t think Manzano is gonna change his current lineup.

  • GS Fan 1905

    92,

    It would be interesting to see both Falcao and Adrian upfront together.
    As for Tiago and Suarez, perhaps a supplement in the Januray transfer window would help, and create competition for the defensive mid position.

    I really feel like a formation change could do wonders to open up this team and reach its offensive potential.

    I’m afraid, if Manzano insists on the 4-3-3 formation it will be the end of him.

  • 92

    We definately need to acquire the services of a new defensive midielder, because as far as I like a canterano like Mario get playing minutes, he isn’t exactly performing at his best, and Tiago also isn’t doing a great job, and you said it would create a healthy competition for the post.

  • k14

    Not talking about atletico winning La Liga this season, but in every pre-season, they talk about that atletico might be the team to upset barca and real for that year.But I never saw that myself in previous years, it was obvious that we cant be even be a contender.
    But now, looking at this team that is stable and isn’t conceding silly goals like before, like I said before, all we have to do is improve slightly and increase the goal rate to minimum and we will start collecting the needed 3 points.
    As for the offensive issue, I can see it so clearly (maybe I ‘m right on the spot, maybe I’m completely wrong) that team is only trying to score through forward through passes, totally doesn’t suit Falcao, he is too slow for that.
    I believe that we need to attack through the wings (Arda,Pizzi,Salvio) then send the cut low pass back into the box.
    Felipe and Silvio quality will sure help with that. Thats why I think we will win next game by a margin if Silvio plays..

  • dgsozkan

    I agree with GS Fan 1905 about formation. Actually I’m pretty fond of 4-3-3 but our squad is more available to play with two striker. Adrian was very promising in September and I’m sure that he is really talented. Playing with Falcao would be good for both him and Falcao.Besides, Arda and Diego would be much more effective if they play with two of them.
    @k14
    With all my respects, dude , it would be crazy to expect our team to win tittle this year. I’m also believe in our squad but it is too soon to claim something like win La Liga , but if we find a good and competitive coach and show some patient to our players(especially young and promising ones),and keep improving our cantera, it wouldn’t be delusional to expect great triumphs even like breaking stupid barca – real winning cycle in a few years. But now we ought to believe in team and find a good rebellious coach.
    @GS Fan 1905
    Bu arada burada takılan tek Türk olmadığımı bilmek güzel.

  • 92

    Bad news ahead of Thursday match, Salvio has an ankle sprain and is gonna miss Bilbao’s game and possibly he could still be out on Sunday when we face Zaragoza.

  • javi

    and falcao seems to have poopy pants so he might be out as well.

  • 92

    So in case Falcao is out tomorrow, should Manzano start packing his bags?.

  • 92

    My bad I mean Thursday.

  • GS Fan 1905

    Yikes! You see, here’s another issue. A complete lack of depth up front. Once Falcao is out of the picture the quality up front diminishes quite significantly, no offence to Adrian.

    Also, why on earth is Manzano not playing Koke more often??? This kid is going to be really good but he needs more playing time.

    @dgsozkan. Tabii ya. Arda nerede biz orada. 🙂

  • 92

    Tell me about it, without Falcao our goalscoring chances are really low, so I say Collado should be considered at least as a sub, in case Falcao is out. That kid (Collado) has potential and I think he deserves a chance, I mean, if Falcao is out why not giving the young players a chance?. Espanyol for instance, is giving they’re young players a chance, mostly because they have no money but their kids are doing a decent job. I just wonder when is Atleti going to really give their young players a chance, because right know we are not doing it.
    About Manzano not giving Koke playing time, that’s the question I always ask myself, I mean you said it, the kid has tremendous potential and if he manages to fully develop he could become a world class player l, but definitely he needs to play as soon as possible, if they don’t want to give Koke minutes the just sell him to Manchester United or Arsenal or whoever they want so that he can have minutes and fulfill his potential.

  • dgsozkan

    @92 you are so right about young players. I think Koke has proved that he deserves more minutes. He doesn’t have minutes as he deserves but it is not because of his lack of potential or poor performance it is Manzano’s lack of interest to young potentials.
    About Collado, he is one of the most noticeable players in the cantera. Also, it is a fact that we need some subs in case something happens one of our strikers because we don’t have much alternatives in that area. I wonder why Manzano doesn’t use Collado as an option.

  • 92

    @dgsozkan, certainly Koke needs and deserves more minutes not only because of the great campaign he and the whole U-20 Spanish team had 3 months ago in Colombia, but because how strongly he finished last season helping Atleti qualify for the Europa League.
    And definately we need to increase our deck of forwards because we only have Falcao and Adrian and Collado has being doing merits enough to at least be in the squad if Falcao or Adrian are absent whether they are injured or exhausted since we are playing 2 tournaments (La Liga and Europa League) and with the Copa del Rey is gonna be 3 tournaments we’re gonna have to cope with.
    Also you’re correct about Manzano, he isn’t exactly the kind of manager that tens to give young players many chances, so I think that bringing a new manager that likes to give young players plenty of chances just like Rafa Benitez could be the answer for our bad streak in case things things don’t improve with Manzano at all.

  • javi

    looks like Falcao completed todays training without a problem and is on the list against Bilbao.

  • 92

    That’s good news for us and I still think Collado should be called for tomorrows game so that he stars hobnobbing with the first team players and gets accustomed to first division football, in my opinion that could be good for him because I think he is ready to make his top flight debut, but who am I kidding, he probably is not gonna be called up antime soon.

  • Mais

    if only Manzano could read this…

  • 92

    @Mais, so you like the idea of Collado being call up to the first team?

  • Mais

    heck yes…we need to develop our players, so we’re not stuck in stupid situations like this, being dependent on inflexible expensive signings

    im happy we have falcao dont get me wrong, and i dont have major complaints with any of the other signings either, even if we are going through a dry spell, but we need more depth within the homegrown players…look at how it has benefited other teams, i doubt barcelona will ever really “need” another signing for years to come

  • 92

    I couldn’t agree with you more, and you got a point, we need to develop our players because I’m 100% sure we have a lot of talents, we just don’t give them many chances and that’s why they don’t fully develop, and honestly I would prefer seeing a youth player striving working his way in into the first team.
    We have the raw material, we just don’t know how to make the best of it.

  • Mais

    i think it would help with the morale of the first-string players as well..so pressure doesnt build on a few key individuals and they all bond as a unit..our players lack confidence more than anything, something that was overlooked a lot when kun was still around and reyes was flying high, but having a solid base in the canteranos would improve that issue so much i feel

  • 92

    I like you’re thinking, and yeah at this very moment our players are low in confidence, and the base of canteranos as you mention would give the unconfident players a boost.
    Talking about confidence, imagine how Koke must feel right now because I’m pretty sure that at the beginning of the season he was very motivated because how strong he finished last season and Manzano hasn’t really count on him for most of the matches, and Koke I think Koke deserves to be starter from now on.

  • Mais

    Hopefully he doesnt let Manzanos choices dampen his motivation to prove himself..it seems likely that Koke will outlast Manzano in Atletico in any case, so lets hope he keeps building his strengths..out of all the players Koke seems very confident on the pitch when he gets to play, a lot of energy..if he rubs off on the other players it would be a welcome change on the pitch

  • 92

    Totally, because I would not like Koke having a a slip and moving away from the Calderon just like many other promising players like Keko, Alberto Perea and German Pacheco.