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Quique S. Flores: “We have to hold onto the Europa League spot with dignity”

“We have to play as well as we can in the remaining fixtures”

Quique Sánchez Flores appeared early in the Press Room, immediately following the first squad training session. He confirmed the absence of Godín, sent a message of support to Juanfran after the death of his father and stated that they have to focus solely on Racing and how nice it would be to qualify for the Europa League, without having to look behind them or feel sorry about the points lost at the Calderón this season.

“What’s happened has happened, it doesn’t interest me. This isn’t the time to feel sorry about what’s happened at the Calderón or on the road. Every year every team talks about the course of the season and how long they are and that things happen. We had to have won more points, but we lost more than we would have liked to. It’s not time to complain about past mistakes. We felt sorry for ourselves all last week about what he hadn’t achieved and then came out the way we did against Malaga. Therefore, let’s stop lamenting and focus on playing as well as possible in the three games we have left and enjoy what we can, which is Europa League, because it seems like we never enjoy everything. After we’d gotten where we wanted to be after such a long time chasing it, we started complaining that we weren’t in Champions. All statistics have a story and a reason why. And now’s not the moment to do so because we haven’t even finished the season,” stressed the ‘rojiblanco’ head coach.

The manager of Atlético de Madrid was categorical when asked about the game on Tuesday. “Working on fixing mistakes when you don’t have days to work is complicated. We’ve had two days and there’s no time to work on errors. Against Malaga we made pretty huge mistakes. We have to try and repeat the previous eleven games and not the first half against Malaga, especially against a team that plays with maximum intensity and that plays well on the counter-attack and which is one of the best squads in that sense in the Spanish League,” he said.

Atlético head to Santander with several players out, both injured, such as Perea, or as in the case of Juanfran, due to the passing of his father. “We’re missing starters, but this has happened in other games. It would be better if we were all there, but in the current situation everyone will try to play the best game possible. We’re really sorry about the absences of Juanfran because it hurts us all and all Atlético fans and members are passing on a message of affection, because he’s a great person and is going through a very difficult time in his life,” he stated.

In speaking about the absences, Quique Sánchez Flores said that “Godín won’t be ready because he’s going from match to match and goes into each game put together by pins. Therefore, it’s impossible to get him back in two days. Another footballer will have to play. Regarding Forlán, you all know that there are a couple of players who can play alongside Kun and we’ll have to choose. Whoever plays will be thinking about doing as well as he can to help the team.”

The Atlético manager doesn’t want to make calculations for clinching a Europa League spot. “I don’t know. We have to earn as many points as possible and be very realistic. We’ve had a really hard time getting started to get up into European spots and now that we’re there, we have to make an effort to hold onto it and do so with dignity. That’s the important thing. We’re going to see if we’re able to erase this lapse that sometimes happens to this team, as well as in others, and whether we can get back to playing how we were before,” he highlighted.

Concerning whether it’s preferable to finish in fifth or sixth place so that they don’t have to play in a qualifying round at the end of July, the coach pointed out that “the Club always wants the best and to finish as high as possible. Later we’ll have time to plan out schedules. Now the most important thing is to be in Europe in the highest position we can, and to do that we have to earn as many points possible in the remaining fixtures.”

With respect to his future, Quique Sánchez Flores was clear about the information that has him being represented by a new agent. “I haven’t changed my agent and I’m represented by the best one in Spain and all of Europe. This information isn’t reliable. Manolo García Quilón is one of the best agents in the world and, fortunately, he’s only helped me reach goals and coach grand clubs since I’ve been with him.”

To finish, he commented again on his future. “My future is not a mystery to me. I’m a pretty clairvoyant person with my ideas and quite faithful to my thoughts. If people want to speak, fine. I’m going to resolve this issue much sooner and with a very short sentence,” he wrapped up.