Atlético relapse

Notes and quotes from our loss to Racing Santander

One last crisis for old time's sake?  (

One last crisis for old time's sake?

Atlético resorted to their old ways yet again by turning in back-to-back stinkers in just a span of four days, with losses to Málaga and Racing Santander.

Though los Rojiblancos still have a solid chance of securing a Europa League berth for next season, they felt it necessary to put their fans through the torture chamber one last time for the final stage of the current campaign.

Atleti are notoriously inconsistent, but what supporters have repeatedly been able to count on this year, especially when deficiencies appear to have been sorted out, is a major letdown.

Post-match notes:

Quique lashes out at media and Forlán
“It’s been a match with two very different halves,” Quique told the club’s official site after the clash. “In the first half, we had the game dominated with the score in our favour. We committed two fouls and boosted Racing.

“I repeat, we boosted Racing in the last five minutes of the first half. We had to have gone into half time with the lead. We’ve lacked aggression in the attack in the last games. We created opportunities but we have to shift our speed. That’s what I told the players during the break, that we had to change the rhythm, but it was too late.”

The coach was then grilled by AS about Diego Forlán’s “surprise” exclusion from the starting line-up. ‘La Rubia’ was widely expected to be handed a start given Diego Costa’s unavailability through suspension, but Quique, somewhat controversially, went with Jose Antonio Reyes up front instead, leaving Forlán on the bench to begin the game.

“We put in center midfielders with touch that can maintain possession,” Quique explained to the Spanish paper. “I see the team every day and I know of the availability of those I can count on. Sometimes I make mistakes, but the issues are clear and the cards are on the table. There’s nothing to inquire about.”

Sanchez Flores then went on the attack.

“Forlán was given 35 minutes, 40 counting stoppage time, and you’ve seen his minutes,” he said, implying that the Uruguayan forward’s poor performance supported his decision to leave him off the starting XI. “You [the media] are the ones that are supposed to criticise the players, not me. When the team was winning no one talked about his benching.”

Quique is no longer hiding the obvious rift between him and Forlán, which seems to signal that one or the other, if not both, will not be returning for another season.

Reyes feels seventh place would be a failure
After a dazzling start to the year, Reyes has been off lately, not playing up to his full potential. The winger underperformed and was largely invisible against the Cantabrians in our defeat, and his thoughts on Tuesday’s match could very well have applied to his own uninspired performance.

“It’s incredible, it looks like we don’t want to make it to the European spots,” Reyes said after the match. “We had the sixth spot right there for the taking and we let it get away. On top of that, Athletic had stumbled, but we didn’t hold up our end.

“In the last two games we have not looked like Atlético. To finish in seventh would be a failure, we have to fight until the end for a fifth or sixth place finish.”

Mario’s second official goal at Atleti not enough
Canterano midfielder Mario Suarez, aka ‘Afroman’, got us off to a flying start with a lovely blast from outside the box to put us up 1-0 before we ultimately blew the lead.

“There are no excuses,” Mario told the press after the game. “We can’t get ahead in a match that we are playing our lives for and allow them to comeback against us like that. It looked like we didn’t know what we were playing for. We have to wake up. We’re responsible for everything. We’re very upset with what happened, but I insist, we’re the only ones to blame.

“We don’t know what just happened to us. Now, we have to pick ourselves back up and think about the last two games, which we must win.”

Limited defensive options against Hércules could spell trouble
With Tomas Ujfalusi suspended for our upcoming clash against Hércules after seeing his 10th yellow card of the season, our back line could be in even more trouble than it already generally is come game time Sunday.

Luis Perea will be unavailable because of his hamstring injury and Diego Godín, who was left off the match selection against Racing after sustaining a muscle strain in training Monday morning, may also not be fit in time for Sunday’s encounter.

Should Godín not make it back to the line-up, Quique would be left with the following options at the back: Filipe Luis, Alvaro Dominguez, Juan Valera, Antonio Lopez and Jorge Pulido.

Domínguez has played very poorly lately and botched the coverage of Markus Rosenberg in the play that led to Racing’s game-winning second goal. If Pulido is paired with Alvaro, he may end up forever regretting the day he finally debuted in la Liga.

Stat of the day
Of the 15 coaches that have managed the most league matches at Atlético, Quique continues to hold the worst record: 27 wins, 11 draws and 28 losses, Pedro Martin of COPE reports.

  • Joakim

    1. Forláns benching was the right thing to do, except if QSF once and for all would show that he is a good coach and apply a 4-3-3-system or even 4-2-3-1 because 4-4-2 with four central midfielders is so, so wrong. DON’T YOU SEE THAT, QSF?! Horrible.

    2. If Ufa didn’t complain that much and played instead he would have two or maybe three cards this season. He’s our most experienced player and he still argues with the refs(even though they are cowards who cards a player just because they get upset). I think it’s very bad judgement from Ufa.

    3. I know that Domínguez hasn’t played good lately, but I find it QSF’s fault. Domínguez was outstanding last year and started this one’s very good, but he has been replaced as soon as he has done a small, small mistake when Perea gets chance after chance despite his sometimes embarrassing defensive plays.

    4.What was the gameplan yesterday? It can’t be to easy as an attacker to do everything themselves without any kind of support from the four central midfielders on the pitch who just want to have some posession.

    Horrible game. Puta madre!!!!

  • Beyond horrible game! QSF is mixing things up again, and this is not turning out well at all! Forlán should have been given the starters position, and put Reyes where he always was. End of story. And I agree with Joakim, what was the initial plan? Well I seriously hope that Rojiblancos will win the upcoming two and get all six points! Aupa Atléti!

  • Sebyk

    Playing Forlán is something completely pointless right now, look at his previous performances. Playing with Forlán up-front is like playing with ten players on the pitch…
    I’m really tired of QSF’s stupid experiments and I’ll have no regrets when he finally leaves. I’ll never understand why he played 4 central midfielders in the midfield yesterday. Also, why the hell did he play with high defensive line against Racing when they have super-quick attacking duo Rosenberg-Gio and we have super-slow Ujfa and lately super-horrible Dominguez? Maybe QSF is just a misunderstood genius…
    I’m really afraid of the Hercules game, especially because of our defense where Pulido will play next to Dominguez. Although I’m quite sure that QSF will pull out another of his genial tactical moves and will play López or Assuncao as centre-backs…

  • Javi

    Maybe he will use Reyes as a right fullback!

  • Javi

    Btw our boy degea has not been looking very sharp lately either

  • starvs

    Yes Javi, speaking of De Gea, I came here to post about him. How has no one mentioned Rosenbergs goal yet? De Gea did not even make an attempt at the ball, he just stood there.

    I can remember a few goals as of late that end with De Gea just standing there. There have been a few goals as of late that just end with De Gea standing upright not even having dived to try a save.

    Now admittedly some of these goals were just not saveable but I def think the Rondon’s goal from this weekend was close enough where he should be attempting a save.

    Maybe he is just trying to ensure he stays at Atleti next year by turning in some mediocre performances.

    Elias also looked bad today.

    Hopefully we can weather one last QSF crisis mode stretch and make EL.

  • Sebyk

    I wouldn’t blame De Gea so much, he also pulled out some amazing saves which kept us in the play for EL spots (e.g. Levante). But yeah, I assume he looks a bit resigned in the goal at times. I guess it’s all the pressure and speculations about his departure/extension of contract. Also he must be getting tired of goalkeeping behind our “world-class” defence which rarely ever helps him…

  • SpeGo

    I totally disagree with De Gea criticism! If not him between sticks, it would have been much bigger scoreline!

  • Flo

    True story SpeGo de Gea is the wrong one to blame.

    Yesterday and in the last couple of games it was poor football from us. We won a couple of games but not with great attacking football I think. We are lacking speed, creativity and counter attacks. As we can see we are not able to control a game, dominate with 70% ball posession, wait for the opponents mistake and score our goals.

    There is no real plan we change the line up every week and you can see this on the pitch. Like you guys said playing 4-4-2 with 4 cm is not helping us. All the creativity gets lost.
    We need this 5th or 6th place in the table. Then work hard in the summer, get a consistent defence with 4 players that are playing every week and work out a game plan for the attack.
    7th place would be very bad so we won’t really have a preseason to change things…

  • NiñoTorres

    Luckily Hércules are officially down now, I was worried that they would come to the Calderón on Sunday needing a win to stay up. Must win game for us!

  • Don

    I agree, De Gea and Suarez were the best. As for Forlan, in this particular case I don’t blame Quique for benching him. It doesn’t really matter anymore if Diego plays or not: he is pretty much done with Atletico. However, I DO blame Quique, DT, other selfish players and Atletico’s Spanish fanbase for what they did to Forlan this season. You don’t treat a player of his caliber that way. It’s their fault that he lost his interest, form, motivation, and as a result stopped scoring and is now leaving (I am sure of that).