Despite losing his fifth straight match with yesterday’s 2-1 loss to Valencia, Atlético manager Quique Sanchez Flores will live to see another day with the club.
Atleti directors Enrique Cerezo and Miguel Ángel Gil, according to AS, went into the locker room after the clash and spoke with Quique, assuring the coach that his job was safe.
Rumours in the Spanish media all week long suggested that a weekend defeat to los Che would lead to the Rojiblanco boss’ sacking, but Sanchez Flores himself dispelled the rumours.
“I understand greed and the need for news, but the best thing for the club right now is not a dismissal, it is to stay united,” he told MARCA. “I just spoke with Gil and Cerezo and they have given me all their support.
“They are uniting the club instead of destructuring it. It’s absurd to think about things that can divide the organisation. I’m not more important than Atlético Madrid. Atlético Madrid is more important than Quique Sanchez Flores.”
About the condition of the team following the tough defeat in which their opponents overturned an early 1-0 advantage, Quique described a gloomy atmosphere.
“The dressing room is not doing so well,” he said. “They have played a good game against a tough opponent. They put their all on the playing field to win. We’ve missed a penalty and the team is shattered.”
The crowd at the Vicente Calderón, aware about the speculation revolving around Quique’s future, likely softened the blow for the manager as they voiced their support in the final minutes of the game by singing: “Ole, ole, ole, Quique Sánchez Flores.”
“They’re fantastic,” Quique said about the loyal supporters that expressed their backing of the coach. “I’ve said it a thousand times. I wouldn’t change them (for any other group of fans) in the world.
“They’ve been tremendously respectful since the first day. They continue to lift my spirits…they are appreciated.”
With Champions League a virtual impossibility given the now 17-point difference between ourselves and fourth place Valencia, we have fallen well short of our target for the campaign.
“We’ll try to do as well as possible by the end of the season, in an ugly and complicated year,” said Quique, as he seemed to come to grips with the reality of our situation. “I’m worried about the morale of 25 players that train well and with anger, with desire to turn the situation around. It makes me very angry.”
The tactician renewed his commitment to the Rojiblanco cause and vowed to forge ahead despite hitting rock bottom.
“I want to stay in the mud and give my all to get the team out of its current situation,” he said. “A sacking is not the solution. I want to stay with the team and make it to June in the best possible shape. I want to give my all for the team.
“We have to be worthy of this shirt and this club, and try to win each game.”