Wonder boy Sergio Aguero’s first ever hat-trick at Atlético helped the club snap a streak of four straight losses in Mallorca, but it wasn’t enough to sidestep the two preliminary rounds of the Europa League as los Rojiblancos finish a disappointing 2010-11 season in seventh place. “It was a bittersweet victory as we were unable to avoid the preliminaries,” said David de Gea afterwards.
Quique Sánchez Flores joined the Cadena SER radio programme ‘El Larguero’ Monday evening, and spoke openly about his regrets during his time at Atlético. The coach talked about his inability to get the best out of Forlan and about his possible future as manager of bitter rivals Sevilla.
It was at home. It was Quique Sanchez Flores’ last match at the Vicente Calderón. It was against an already relegated and severely banged-up Hércules side. But…it wasn’t easy. In the end, a spectacular volley by Jose Antonio Reyes sealed Atlético’s spot in next season’s edition of the Europa League–los Rojiblancos’ fifth consecutive qualification for UEFA club competition.
On Sunday evening, Atlético will be looking to avenge the 4-1 pounding suffered at the hands of Hércules back in January when the two sides face off at the Calderón. It will be manager Quique Sanchez Flores’ last match at the stadium he brought two European titles to. Saturday morning, the Rojiblanco boss admitted what was pretty much a foregone conclusion: he will not be returning for another campaign.
Despite spending most of the season denying that a rift between them existed, it was clear early on that Atlético manager Quique Sanchez Flores and star forward Diego Forlan aren’t exactly the best of friends. The feud between the manager and striker finally popped its lid Tuesday evening following Atleti’s defeat to Racing.
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.
Hours before Saturday’s match against Málaga kicked off, Spanish radio station COPE reported that Joaquín Caparrós will take over as Atlético head coach for next season. The station also claimed that Caparrós was chosen by former Atleti left back Toni Muñoz, purportedly set to be named Jesús García Pitarch’s successor as the club’s sporting director.
Following back-to-back wins over Osasuna and Real Sociedad, Atlético supporters entertained themselves all week long by quietly indulging in daydreams about the possibility of Champions League qualification, however far-fetched they may be. That fairy tale came to a grinding halt on Sunday with two goals by Espanyol striker Pablo Daniel Osvaldo in a match that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Atlético continued their steady climb up the Primera División ladder on Sunday with an all-around dominant showing over freefalling visitors Real Sociedad. The lively 3-0 victory was los Colchoneros’ second win in a row, and they now trail 5th place by a single point ahead of next weekend’s clash against Espanyol.
Atlético manager Quique Sánchez Flores has reportedly informed club officials he will not continue with Atleti after this season. Quique’s contract runs out this summer and it seems both parties, coach and club, are willing to split. Despite a long list of candidates for the job, directors haven’t zeroed in on a replacement yet.