Atlético coach Gregorio Manzano survived the weekend after his men comfortably saw off Real Zaragoza on Sunday, ending a seven-game winless streak.
Manzano’s lifeboat came in the form of an Adrián brace and a goal by vice-captain Alvaro Domínguez.
Atleti moved up to ninth in the league standings having taken 13 points from 10 games.
“We’ve won an important and difficult match and we want it to be a turning point to gain confidence from,” the manager said in the post-game press conference.
“A dark October ends today.”
While the triumph offered the 55-year-old some breathing room, several fans at the Vicente Calderón weren’t quite ready to let Manzano off the hook just yet and continued the chants of “Manzano vete ya!” heard at the stadium a week ago.
Confronted about the calls for him to go, Manzano responded:
“I only care about the result, the victory, and not about what happened off the playing field.”
He continued: “We hope to keep offering the fans satisfaction and we’re sure the team will have a great season. I’m no novice and I’m aware of the dimension of this club. Now, we have to work harder.
“We professionals are here to withstand all the pressure that arises. I would even say that we will come out reinforced by this mini-crisis.”
The Rojiblanco boss then spoke about the hero of the night.
“Adrián is the complementary version of Falcao,” he said.
“He has completed a great match and that makes me very happy. He has more mobility in wide spaces.
“He’s a player that now has three goals and we expect a lot from him.”
Adrián, who returned to the starting line-up after riding the bench in our mid-week defeat against Athletic Bilbao, hadn’t found the back of the net since our blowout of Racing well over a month ago.
The former Deportivo man hasn’t been getting many opportunities to shine with star striker Radamel Falcao shouldering the club’s goal scoring responsibilities.
Nonetheless, it was the 23-year-old who looked like the 40 million euro man on Sunday.
“I’m happy about having scored, but most of all for the team,” he said afterwards.
“It was a very important game that we needed to win. Today, we had the luck of scoring early. The team played well, we responded from the beginning and were the just victors.
“I’m happy for having helped the team, for scoring, but mostly, because the team won.”
Manzano plays down having sent Reyes to the stands
Asked if he had left José Antonio Reyes off the game-day squad as a punishment for the winger’s misconduct on Thursday, Manzano said, “That depends on each individual’s interpretation.
“I only say that he was left out of the match selection just like Miranda was, and we hope to recover the best version of Reyes for the future.”
- Right back Sílvio surprisingly started his third consecutive match on Sunday after Atlético officials had claimed he would only be able to play one game per week throughout the season due to a nagging groin injury. However, the 24-year-old came out in the second half and it is unclear if he aggravated his injury or if his substitution was simply a precautionary measure.
- Colombian defender Luis Amaranto Perea, who replaced Sílvio at the 67 minute mark, tied Argentine Jorge Bernardo Griffa’s record as the most-capped foreigner by Atlético in all competitions with 291 appearances.
- Adrián took his goal total in Liga up to three for the season. He now has six goals in all competitions in the current campaign.
- Falcao hasn’t scored a goal from open play in eight matches.
- Arda Turan picked up his third assist of the season with his cross to Adrián to open up the scoring against Zaragoza. Filipe Luis and Diego Godín each got their first assists of the season on Sunday.
- All 12 of Atlético’s goals in the domestic competition have been scored at home.