At some point after the triumph over Mallorca last Monday, Atlético fell into a deep coma.
With our season placed on life support after getting the boot from the domestic cup on Thursday, the team continued to show no signs of life in Gijón en route to a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatened Sporting.
Yesterday’s defeat pretty much extinguished the dying flames of our Champions League aspirations, leaving our immediate future looking bleak, especially considering that all five teams ahead of us won over the weekend.
Even if Valencia lose the next three games and we manage to string together our first three-game-win-streak in over a year, we’d still be a point behind Los Che for the fourth place spot.
Following the eyesore in Asturias, Colchonero supporters will be spending the long-week ahead doing a lot of soul-searching, asking themselves questions like: Is it worth the heartache? The deception? The anger?
Where do we point our fingers? At the directors? At the coaches? At the players?
Is the simple explanation for our lacklustre showing the absence of Aguero, Reyes and Tiago?
There are no easy answers. All we have is time; and nowadays, without anymore mid-week cup matches helping us get past our weekend horrors, we’ll have plenty of it.
Quique not concerned about being fired
“It would be suicidal to leave these players without a steering wheel,” Quique told the official site when asked about his current job situation.
“My record at Atlético Madrid cannot be erased,” he said, presumably referring to the two European titles he led the team to within his first year at the club.
“I’m not worried about my future.”
Meanwhile, COPE Radio in Spain reported last night that Quique will not be remaining with the club next year.
Waiting for Godin
Our problems yesterday had more to do with our offense than our defence, though ironically it was a horrific defensive blunder that ended up costing us the game.
This brings to the forefront the fact that we have two quality central defenders rotting away on the bench in Diego Godín and Alvaro Dominguez. I hate the idea of ripping Perea, as he has been our most solid defender this season, but it’s hard to convince ourselves that the Colombian isn’t always just a gaffe away from disaster, with yesterday’s blunder with Raul Garcia being a case in point.
What will it take to get Godin back in the fold? Or Alvaro Dominguez for that matter?
The walking dead: Forlan and Raul Garcia
Diego Forlan is indefensible right now. The World Cup Golden Ball winner has failed to bring the magic he offered his country over the summer back to his employer in Madrid for the 2010-11 campaign. Forlan’s lack of intensity and desire is inexcusable.
Raul Garcia burned all his bridges ages ago, but somehow miraculously finds himself in the starting line-up far too often. We know he stinks, he knows he stinks. Why doesn’t Quique get a clue and pass the torch on to Koke? That’s of course, when Tiago isn’t fit to play.
Borja not given a chance
Same thing goes for Borja. Down 1-0 in the 85th minute, Quique inexplicably sent Filipe in for Antonio López as a last ditch effort to what? To make sure we only lose by one? We had nothing to lose. Last year, Quique had the guts to give Ibra a chance and it paid off big in Zaragoza for example when, in a very similar situation as the one we found ourselves in against Sporting, the Senegalese striker leveled the scoreline in injury time to salvage a point.
After yesterday’s snooze-fest, the Atleti boss pretty much suggested that Borja wasn’t ready to play yet because of his recent return from a knee injury. In that case, why was he called up to the first team?
Light at the end of the tunnel?
Late on Sunday, Kun sent a message via Twitter saying that he was ready to return to training on Monday in preparation for our upcoming clash against Athletic.
For those of us that are still questioning why we continue to follow Atleti, the Argentine wonderkid is a nice mental starting point. That’s until the nightmares about his departure start creeping in. It’s hard to imagine the 22-year-old will want to stick around much longer after another fiasco like yesterday’s.
Tough road ahead
Our next three games are against: Athletic Bilbao (Home), Barcelona (Away), Valencia (Home)
Stat of the day
After our loss to Sporting, Quique’s domestic league record with Atlético now stands at 21 Wins, 7 Draws and 22 Losses. Quique is the only Atleti coach who, after 50 matches, has lost more games than he has won.