Making sense of a catastrophe

Notes and quotes from the rout in Alicante

Atletico striker sergio aguero misses goal against espanyol

Can we recover in time for the derby?

It was obvious to the world at large that what happened yesterday in Alicante was a catastrophe of epic proportions for Atlético. It was a humilitation of the sort that causes lasting institutional damage, tarnishing an ever-fading Rojiblanco brand.

It was no surprise then that the most common headline about the game was: “Hércules humiliates Atlético Madrid.” There simply was no denying that the Blanquiazules had done just that.

MARCA poured the salt into the collective wounds of the Atleti faithful with their “Rojiblanco ridicule” title. Fair enough. We deserved nothing less.

“Atlético sinks in Alicante,” wrote the pro-Barcelona El Mundo Deportivo, a paper that took a more gentle approach as they probably didn’t want to inflict any more damage on us ahead of our Copa match against mutual sworn enemy Real Madrid. We thank you kindly sirs.

Curiously, the club’s official site painted a drastically different picture of the events that transpired yesterday in its match report.

“Luck, at the moment of finishing, scoring four goals from their first four shots on target, was what allowed for the home team to enjoy an advantage in the scoreline,” wrote J.D.L. of the official site.

Oh…well, then that explains it. Tote’s first goal had nothing to do with Filipe and Domínguez making a mockery of their profession. It was also a stroke of luck that didn’t allow for De Gea to react to the forward’s shot until the ball had rolled well into the back of the goal.

Sorry Nelson Valdez, but um…that pearler took no skill whatsoever. Filipe, it was plain misfortune that caused you to botch the pass back to Domínguez that led to the Paraguayan’s majestic shot from outside the box.

The official site described the events up to that point as a “severe punishment for an Atlético that had started off the game very seriously, but whose two errors punished them on the scoreboard.”

Started off the game very seriously? Really? It gets better.

“When luck is on your side, everything goes well for you…and in the 31st minute Thormet beat Godín to the ball and netted the third goal of the night.”

The mystery of Atleti’s passive defending has now been solved folks. It was only by chance that Godín failed to position himself to defend the cross that Thormet ended up powering in with his head.

And when Trezeguet capped off the first half by accidentally slotting in the fourth goal, “even the local fans couldn’t believe it,” explained the overly-optimistic J.D.L.

Post-game notes:

Quique apologises to the fans
As opposed to those responsible for the content at Atlético’s home page, manager Quique Sanchez Flores actually watched the game and asked the club’s supporters for forgiveness for his side’s abysmal showing.

“Before anything else, I must apologise to the fans that have travelled all the way here and to those that have watched from their homes for the atrocity that was the first half,” said Quique at the post-game conference.

“It’s inexplicable that, with the great defensive results that we’ve been having, that they scored four goals against us in 45 minutes.”

When asked about whether he fears for his job following the debacle, Quique said that he’s “not in the minds of the directors” and that he does not know “if they will take any measures.”

In a season in which we’ve already endured a disappointing elimination from the Europa League and a series of pathetic showings in the domestic campaign that have left us well short of the targeted Champions League spots, can elimination from the Copa del Rey next week be the end for Quique?

It’s time to give Borja a chance
“We didn’t want to get humiliated and that’s why we were somewhat better in the second half,” Diego Costa told the official site, apparently clueless to the fact it was too late, that us, the fans, the ones at home and the estimated 1,500 that made their way out to the José Rico Pérez stadium had lost our minds somewhere between the second and third goals.

Many of us really wanted Quique to hold on to Costa instead of Eduardio Salvio in the summer, but the Brazilian striker, or player, as it was confirmed yesterday that he does not strike, has been a shadow of the Costa that we saw fighting for a non-EU spot in the pre-season.

It’s time for Quique to give Borja a stab at the third forward role.

Elias and Juanfran to the rescue?
Sitting in the stands after it was confirmed that he would not be eligible to play, Elias was probably praying that his transfer from Corinthians would never arrive from Brazil. Conflicting reports from Spain have left us all confused about the Brazilian’s eligibility. We’ll keep you posted on the latest developments.

Juanfran probably remains locked inside his home in Pamplona, hiding underneath his bed, but his signing is reportedly set to be announced on Tuesday.

Will our transfers be enough to turn our season around?

Stat of the day
Hércules scored four goals in the first half.

  • Derek Maaijen

    What does everyone think is the best solution? Drastic changes to the line-up, or the staff? I don’t think was just a one-off.

  • Raed from Lebanon

    I hate when Atletico plays monday !!

  • Andres

    The best solution would be sacking Pitarch and QSF too…don’t get me wrong, I like QSF, but for the year he couldn’t imprint any face to the play of atlético…the defense is confused…the middle of midfield is not able to create anything…everything is all about Kun – our result depends on whether he creates something or scores…

    QSF never had proper result, last season nobody cared, because we accidentaly won EL. Add to this his stupid experiments of R. Garcia on the right wing and all you get is that QSF is not coach for Atlético sadly…

  • Sash

    You could almost suspect that they let their top earners play more, so it won’t be seen as wasted money? R. Garcia is earning more than Koke, Camacho(did), M.Suarez and therefore maybe they think that he should play before them?

    I think that R.Garcia has been almost worthless for two straight years now, bring Koke in as a 4th (5th depending on Eli’s role) Central midfielder behind Assuncao, Tiago and Mario Suarez. I wouldn’t be sad if RG leaves this January..

    Borja should get a chance as the 3rd striker, cause Diego Costa hasn’t made any rojiblanco happy except for a couple of games where he got a few goals with luck. But maybe they’d rather play Costa because of his salary? Although I think that Costa wouldnt be all bad in an offensive winger role in a 4-3-3. As a substitute of course.

    Both Borja and Koke will probably be much more “hungry” and put in their best effort for the team cause it’s the first team they aspire to get to.

    I hope RG and Costa gets offloaded til next year, I would rather go with Koke, Borja and Ibra than them.

  • Kaminero

    In last week’s “Chronicle of a ‘mini-fiasco’” you were hoping that Godin and Dominguez would cement their places in the starting line-up, while Perea would be relegated to a back-up role. After yesterday’s display from our defensive duo I can only say: Be careful what you wish for…

  • Martin Rosenow

    @Kaminero Yeah, you’re right. Apparently Quique knew something that we didn’t about the Godín/Domínguez pair.

    I don’t know what to wish for anymore.

  • Ian

    I thought Dominguez/Godin was our best pair too, but seeing last Monday’s result, I’m confused.
    And I think that we need a huge change in our board and coaching staff, just changing the head coach won’t do anymore.

  • Have in mind that it was a long time ago since Godín got to play with Domínator. Of course it’s not easy to adapt after one have got benched plus it was a long time ago since they played together. Godín IS a better player than Perea, in my book at least.

    I agree with you, Ian. Atlético needs to get rid of Gílmar and start over again. The project that the club was starting in 2007 is falling apart.

    Gíl Marín – vete ya!

  • palc

    This heavy defeat just doesn’t make sense. We’ve played well lately, especially at the back. Quique said: “There is need for a lot of psychological work with this team”. I totally agree with him.

  • Martin Rosenow

    I don’t know about you all, but I could use a bit of psychological work myself after that game.

  • Ringo Schut

    The mentality needs to change and the positioning really needs work, that’s the most important part of team play.

    So far Aguero, Forlan, Koke (yes, I was actually paying attention to that) and at times Reyes are the ones usually thinking about what way to run.

    This last game, by the way, Reyes and Kun were the only players called sufficient, but I was really annoyed by reyes.

    He was way too hungry for a goal, he was even lucky the Hercules-defense was making the blunder at the end.
    Hopefully this goal will turn him back to normal, because every game he turned more and more selfish…
    Of course he’s a great dribbler, but the results were mostly not too well against Hercules. It’s also easier to defend when you know he will at least not pass the ball.

    When I’m thinking about positioning, perhaps it might be a good idea to start two of Tiago, Koke and Elias, with or without Assuncao to assist in defending.
    In front of them you could use three of Reyes, Fran, Aguero and Forlan, or four, depending on the Paulo-situation.
    I was (and still am) against the signing of Juanfran, but we could use him, knowing Quique will stick with the 4-4-2 no matter what, so we need an extra winger.

    Forlan will return to captaincy and I think he could do well, but I think it’s better to let Aguero wear the band multiple games, preferably the rest of the season.
    It might raise the likeness he’ll stay and Forlan has a bigger leave-chance. Lopez is probably to stay sub, even this Filipe really is better.

    Talking about Forlan, I was pleased to see him, he looked much fresher then the first half of the season, I think we will see the return of Uruguayan goals.
    He really proves that he is somewhat a ‘second-half-of-the-season-player’.

  • Javi

    I hate to rush to judgement after a few bad games.
    But commenting on the above comments: I never really liked Diego Costa, I think Salvio has much greater potential-letting him go and keeping Costa is a big QSF error.
    QSF is confused, every game he uses a different line up, what the heck is up with that. Lets get some uniformity here, there is no stability in the line up. How are players going to get used to anything this way. QSF is doubtful at this point. But I want to give him a bit more rope before I hang him. Lets see what he does with RM in the copa. If it is more of the same, then maybe its time to cut him loose.

  • starvs

    If Atleti is out of the Copa Del Rey by Thursday night I expect QSF will follow very shortly.

  • Sash

    Rumours say Osasuna will get the buy out rights on Cedric as part of the Juanfran deal…

    Come on..

  • rockefeller

    selling jurado and not replacing him is one of the worst deals I have seen this year.

  • Maryke AtleticoFan Forever Roeloffze

    I love Atletico with all my heart, and I will support them forever, but I don’t like it when we play on Mondays, and I don’t know what’s wrong with the players. What I DO know is that we have got to start winning against the lower teams or we are gonna be relegatedwith in the next 2 seasons or so. Also, I think QuiQue made a big mistake by taking Aguero off and putting Forlan on, because they help each other in scoring goals. He should have replaced Costa when he put Forlan on. That’s my opinion.

  • I don’t know what to say about all this that’s going on. I’m just really sick at seeing Atleti play so bad when I know they are million times better. It’s so frustrating.

  • AmorColchonero

    Rumours say Osasuna will get the buy out rights on Cedric as part of the Juanfran deal…

    Come on..

    Sash from what I gather Osasuna has 1st option to buy and match for Cedric. If Valencia want to pay €10 million for Cedric and Osasuna match it then he goes to them automatically. But, if another club pays him more than Osasuna’s bid then he goes to highest bidder. Honestly, I rather keep Cedric and give him a chance next season cause he has pace, dribble, shooting ability and not afraid to take defenders on. He can play the wings or as a second striker which is what we need.

    Atleti has a mental block and its always been that way. They are the most inconsistent team I have ever seen. We play can brilliantly against Barca/Liverpool then end up losing to Hercules/Levante type of teams. I think we don’t have a strong leader or captain who can pull the team together and get into their minds. We need someone who bleeds red&white and plays with passion to show other teammates what it means to be a COLCHONERO.