It has been a difficult start to the season for Atletico Madrid. They are fourth in La Liga, winless in the Champions League, and in danger of an embarrassing exit in the Copa del Rey.
Atleti sits fourth in La Liga, level with Real Madrid on points but behind on goal differential. They are eight points back of leaders Barcelona after just 11 matches.
The Champions League has proven even more baffling, with Madrid in a distant third in Group C after a trio of draws, including two against Azerbaijani minnows Qarabak FK despite holding a man advantage at various times in both matches. With remaining games against Chelsea and Roma and a four-point deficit, it’s increasingly unlikely that Madrid will be destined for the drop to the Europa League, or worse.
Even in the Copa del Rey 2nd round, Madrid suffered a 1-1 draw in the first leg at third-tier side Elche and now come home needing a win or 0-0 draw to advance.
The club has suffered just a single defeat in any competition this season through 16 total matches, but they continue to settle for the minimum, owning just six wins in comparison with nine draws.
Nevertheless, the club president remains true to the course.
“We could have scored four against Roma and then we had 14,000 chances against Qarabag,” he said.
“It’s not just a problem specific to Atletico that players can be more or less clinical, but it’s a problem for a lot of elite clubs.
“I keep saying we have a fantastic squad, a wonderful coach and a phenomenal fanbase. That’s enough for me.”
Manager Diego Simeone has came under-fire from the press but Cerezo is having none of it. He offered complete support for his manager who has as won five titles at the club, including the Liga title, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Europa League, while also reaching two UEFA Champions League finals.
“I want to say this in a loud voice,” he told Spanish publication Marca. “Simeone is untouchable at Atletico Madrid, for the players, for the directors and for the supporters.”
Cerezo followed up by saying criticism of the head man “is not allowed here.”
In today’s toxic environment for managers, where a run of three or four defeats in a row can see them lose their job, it is refreshing to see a chairman not panic, and give his manager the time and support he needs to turn things around.