After a run of three consecutive defeats things appear to falling apart at Atletico Madrid, with coach Javier Aguirre (pictured) admitting he has empathy and sympathy for the Rojiblancos fans who are calling for his head.
The current loss of form – losing to Athletic Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia – appears to have sucker-punched Atletico at a time when they were beginning to believe that they could actually mount a serious title/Champions League challenge, having ended 2008 with a 15-match unbeaten run. But all the confident acquired from their consistent second half of 2008 now seems a distant memory, with sections of the Vicente Calderon crowd publicly turning on Aguirre and demanded his resignation.
And surprisingly, Aguirre appears to appreciate the fans’ sentiments.
Aguirre: “Any defeat hurts. It hurts that the team didn’t leave a good image, that the fans turned against me and the players, but the truth is they are justified to do so. We have found it hard to react and play the way we can. We’re the same team from December, the one that’s in the Champions League, but the three successive losses have created a climate of doubt and irritation which, in the end, becomes contagious. Nevertheless, I’ve asked the players to remain calm. We have to analyse what we’re doing badly, take what we can from the last few matches and get back into the routine of winning points and games as soon as possible.”
Sadly for Aguirre it looks like things might get worse before they get better, with Atletico’s next match being an away trip to the Nou Camp in the Copa del Rey, with the red and whites already trailing 3-1 from the first leg.
A TV report (in Spanish) into the troubles at Atletico, including vivid footage of the fans barracking and hurling abuse at coach Javier Aguirre during Sunday’s match with Bilbao, can be seen here.