Manzano: “I hold myself responsible”

The coach gave an unexpected press conference Friday morning

Manzano at Friday's press conference (MARCA)

Manzano at Friday's press conference (MARCA)

Atlético coach Gregorio Manzano surprised reporters on Friday by giving a press conference about the current state of affairs at the club following Thursday’s loss to Athletic Bilbao.

Rojiblanco fans and the media alike have speculated that the manager’s days at the Vicente Calderón, after a month-long slump and seven-game winless streak, could be numbered.

In a MARCA poll published on Friday, which asks if Manzano should be fired, 87 per cent of the over 2,800 participants feel it’s time for the 55-year-old to go.

Late Thursday evening, Atleti president Enrique Cerezo told Spanish radio station COPE, “We continue to feel that we have a great manager. To think otherwise makes no sense.”

Cerezo continued: “At this time I can say that nothing will happen on Sunday, but I am not a psychic and I don’t want to guess anyone’s future.”

While Cerezo feels it would be senseless to think Manzano will be given the boot, his words aren’t exactly the most reassuring; neither is Atlético’s recent history of sacking roughly what feels like one coach per season.

Nonetheless, Manzano is confident he will be leading the team into next week.

“Fear? I don’t fear anything,” he said in the impromptu press conference.

“In football, sometimes there are situations where things that aren’t positive happen. I admit to the negative streak and I hold myself responsible for it.

“It is not a novel streak, I have lived other negative ones and I have overcome them. I’ve experienced situations like this one before. I can list examples.”

The former Sevilla boss continues to insist that a single victory can right the ship.

“I have faith in my work and in the work of the squad,” he said.

“All we need is a positive result to break out of this. I am here before you to communicate to you that we are hurting, remorseful and our bodies ache after yesterday’s match.

“This morning we performed an analysis, first with the dressing room and later with the coaching staff. It’s a turning point and from now on we have to try to climb the steps up to the top.”

Manzano then had special words aimed at the Colchonero faithful ahead of this weekend’s Día de las Peñas festivities at the Calderón, when we host Real Zaragoza.

“With the situation that will be experienced on Sunday at our stadium, as it is a day of celebration, of unity, I hope that’s the way it is and not a day of confrontation, and that [the fans] help us through these hard times,” he said.

“The players are going to give their all for them and I hope that we can have a starting point.

“That’s the message I want to send out.”

Manzano spoke to the players in the dressing room
Prior to the press conference, ‘Goyo’ held a meeting with his players in which he told them they cannot “fall apart” the way they did in the second half of Thursday’s loss.

Reporters asked Manzano what else he told the squad.

“It was incomprehensible how [we fell apart] after their first goal,” he said.

“That can’t happen. No one is going to give us anything for free. No matter where you are, if you don’t run for 90 minutes you will end up being surprised like yesterday. We are all on the same boat. We know who we represent.

“That was the message.”

Reyes apologises to Manzano
Telemadrid cameras seemed to have caught Jose Antonio Reyes, who was replaced by Eduardo Salvio in the 58th minute of Thursday’s clash, saying, as he walked off the pitch, “He can sub out his whore of a mother.”

The winger was clearly angry with the manager’s decision to remove him from the game and fans, with the memory of former Atleti manager Quique Sánchez Flores’ feud with ex-Atlético striker Diego Forlán still fresh on their minds, began to fear the worst.

But Manzano assured Reyes himself approached him Friday morning to apologise for his behavior.

“I didn’t see what he did,” said Manzano.

“He’s the one who spoke to me. It was honourable of him as a player. He’s a kid who, lately, things haven’t been going well for. I prefer players who get upset about getting taken out and don’t get comfortable.

“He has spoken to me and the matter is settled. I prefer that the players who don’t play be angry about it.

“He has apologised to me and that was honourable of him.”

  • Croatia Atletista

    Usually changing managers during the season is not the best move but MANZANO HAS TO GO!!! It was a while since we had such a complete team and he is ruining us!

  • solari

    I guess we should give manzano a last chance when we host zaragoza….then’ we will see

  • Lubo

    He will be given his chance against Zaragoza. But you know what? I think it will be another draw, because Aguirre is way better coach than Manzano I think and he can make a really weak team to produce some results. Btw, I still think it was a mistake to fire Aguirre two years ago. Am I the only one who would like to see him here again?

  • starvs

    I personally hope Manzano is still coaching us next year in Liga Adelante…

  • now

    time to change!!!! (7 bad results not 4 or 5) we have a great squad and bad results so its coach problem!!

  • dgsozkan

    Please Manzano , don’t be too hard on yourself!!!

    I’ll say what I said at the very moment he took first step to Atletico , “He is not the coach we looking for and it would be delusional to expect great success with Manzano”.

    I’m not keen on chancing the manager in the middle of the season , but I can’t see any hope for us with him. We need a fresh face who counts on young talents and has ambition to win every game we play.It’s never too late to mend.

  • Davide

    Carlo Ancelotti is available at the moment. Now that’s a guy who knows how to win things.

  • javi

    Ancelotti, interesting…he is a winner.

  • 92

    Lubo I agree, Vasco Aguirre is a great coach and was very eficient with us but I’m not sure Zaragoza will let him go that easily and he is very involved with them, also his project with Zaragoza is steady, therefore I don’t think he would agree moving again to Atleti.
    Among the real coaches Atleti could hire, I think Schuster, Benitez and Aragones as Javi says, are the strongest candites for the post in my opinion.

  • 92

    Also with the bad image displayed by Reyes I think he needs to go, those things should not happen and if they do, they need to be said in the dressing room not live, on top of that, there’s no doubt he is an rotten apple and the bad sheep of Atleti, no wonder why Forlan had a bad season thanks to Reyes, he is a great, great player but he is a bad influence, he shattered the dressing room last year and he could as well do it again and we already have enough with Manzano to have to deal with Reyes behavior so I think is better for both parts (Atleti and Reyes) to separate.

  • Ringo

    Well, it’s not a surprise Reyes is pretty childish.

    By the way, I hope Manzano was just stating obvious things, because about every player will not like to be substituted, I guess. Not showing it is probably harder but Reyes does not seem to have that kind of power.

    Reyes should stay on the bench for a whole game, I wonder if he’ll apologize for the things he will say during that game.

  • Ringo

    And about Manzano; he wasn’t exactly my favoured choice in the beginning, but at least he introduced 4-3-3, which I think is what Atleti needs right now.
    Furthermore, to fire a coach so swiftly is not the best way, but I understand if people think it’s what’s needed right now.
    Aragones could work, he created a succesful 4-3-3 for the Spanish national team, perhaps he could create something magical in the capital. Maybe he’ll try Koke as central midfielder, since Koke seems to be a player who brings structure to the play. In Spanish youth teams as deep playmaker, he is very calm and knows when to join the attack, he won’t rush the ball forward, he tries to make the most useful decision every single time.
    Add one of Mario, Gabi and Tiago and keep Diego as CM, so the midfield can stay in control, even though Diego attacks more often (maybe you could call it Iniesta-ish?).
    The midfield needs most adjustments. I guess in attack the players could play very well together, although I’d rather see Salvio than Reyes, he’s also a better forward, in my opinion, which is useful with a single striker who is good at short combinations, with players close to him.

  • 92

    @Ringo, Reyes already apologized, andbut I still think he does needs to leave Atleti for the good of the club and his own good, and everyobody knows he his childish, that’s not something new. Perhaps he derseves another chance but he has been granted a lot of chances in the past, and although I don’t want to be a real jerk to Reyes because he is a great player and I still rememember how hard he work to get the affection of us fans, his superb display againts Inter in the Supercup and how important he was when we won the Europa League, and I know tries to help Atleti but on his own way, but last season he was pretty much one of the direct responsibles of Forlan’s bad season since it’s been said that Reyes said to his teamates; “Don’t pass the ball to the blonde”, refering to Forlan, whether this is true or not, there’s no doubt Reyes was QSF favorite boy, and that favoritism was no good for the team at all, and in the end it’s not healthy for any club that a player or person is favored at the expense of the other players or people who work in behalf of that club.

  • 92

    “Ni un balon a la rubia”, “Not a single ball/pass for the blonde” watch this:

  • Rowly

    Speculating on possible replacements, how about Roberto Martinez at Wigan?

    His track record is good, plays good football, is young & deserves a crack at a big club

  • tikram

    salvio should take reyes place !!! he is over now!!! people think that he could join la roja!!! that make me laught!! i dont think he could be good as 2010 with QSF!! time to see salvio, koke, and arda!! and about manzano!! thats very clear we need someone like benitez or aragones!! first class coaches