Atletico stand by their Manzano... for the moment

On Monday, LLL was boldly predicting to anyone and anything that would listen – on this particular occasion, a Labrador and a pigeon – that by the end of the week Atlético Madrid would be on the hunt for yet another manager.

Although the blog may yet be correct in its assertion, this sacking scenario looks a little less likely after the club’s sporting director José Luis Caminero promised that Gregorio Manzano was safe for the next fortnight or so and that “our project cannot last four months.” To which the pantomime-audience part of the blog's brain might reply “oh yes it can: this is Atleti”.

Still, it’s Caminero who is vaguely in charge of such matters and not LLL, no matter how many applications it sends to the club. But Caminero was certainly aware that Atlético’s dismal performance against Getafe in a 3-2 draw that leaves the Rojiblancos in 11th, 10 points off the Champions League places wasn’t up to scratch.

“We are analysing the reasons why a team is capable of beating a team second in Serie A and aren’t then capable of defeating a rival that played with 10 men for an hour,” claimed Caminero.

From what LLL has seen of Atlético this season – which is a bit too much for anyone’s health – the problem seems to be that the Vicente Calderón club too often seem to lower their game to their opponent’s levels but all too rarely raise it to meet or surpass their rivals. The blog also sides with the opinion of AS writer F Javier Díaz that the side has “no intensity and no born leaders.”

“Atlético play very well with the score in their favour at the Vicente Calderón, but any knock away from home becomes a direct blow to the chin,” writes former Atlético player Kiko Narvaez in the same paper. Indeed Atlético still haven't won away this season. 

Gaffers in peril: (l to r) Manzano, Montanier & Cuper

Another club in trouble are Real Sociedad, who find themselves at the bottom of the table after managing one point from 21. Considering this is the club that sacked former boss Martin Lasarte after taking la Real up to the Primera and keeping them there, this can’t be good news for the side’s French coach, Philippe Montanier.

Nevertheless, the manager has got the thumbs-up from club president Jokin Aperribay, although it was more of a half-hearted effort rather than the full-on Paul McCartney cheery gesture. “We're not planning on sacking the coach: I see him in a strong position, at least in the short term,” said la Real’s main man, with a lovely warning at the end.

The only other side who might be thinking of dumping their manager into the Bay of Biscay is Racing Santander, the team lead by Héctor Cúper, who currently find themselves third from bottom after just one win.

What could well save the Argentinian boss is that this record is entirely predictable for a team without any cash, disgruntled unpaid players, an AWOL owner under investigation by Interpol (the police organisation, not the band), and a club president who has just quit under pressure from fans unhappy about him organising the sale of a club to a gentleman who is AWOL and under investigation by Interpol.

A crumb of comfort perhaps for Atlético fans who may now feel their Crisis is only worth a small ‘c’.