Football / Primera Liga: Schuster Facing The Chop
Posted November 15, 2008on:
Schuster: I’m not worried about my job, but I understand that others will have some doubts.
MADRID: Bernd Schuster has experienced some lows in his 16-month spell as Real Madrid manager but the German coach is currently facing his most difficult time with intense speculation that he could be set for the axe if things don’t improve, starting with today’s match at Valladolid.
The champions are only two points behind leaders Barcelona but Schuster is feeling the heat after back-to-back defeats to Juventus in the Champions League, unconvincing displays in the league and a humiliating Kings Cup defeat at the Bernabeu to third division Real Union, who play at the same level as Real’s reserves.
“I’m not worried about my job, but I understand that others will have some doubts,” said Schuster.
“That’s logical with what we are seeing.”
To compound Schuster’s woes, Dutch marksman Ruud van Nistlerooy, the league’s top-scorer two seasons ago, is out for the season needing surgery on his troublesome right knee.
Real will hope Argentine forward Gonzalo Higuain can fill the void left by van Nistelrooy and build on his four-goal haul in the 4-3 win over Malaga last weekend.
Alarmingly Real have leaked eight goals in their last three matches — something Schuster needs to sort out quickly.
Barcelona’s fortunes are the complete opposite with eight straight league wins putting them on top.
Barcelona have plundered 34 goals in their first 10 games, with Samuel Eto’o scoring 13 goals after a quadruple last weekend, and the Catalan titans have set their sights on the season record of 107 goals set by John Toshack’s Real Madrid side in 1989/90.
Lionel Messi was unstoppable in last weekend’s 6-0 destruction of Valladolid and teammate Thierry Henry is in no doubt that the Argentine is the best player on the planet.
Barca’s next opponents are Recreativo Huelva tomorrow and they will be hoping Messi and Eto’o have off days.
Villarreal sit a point behind Barcelona in second and are the only unbeaten team in the league although they crashed out of the Kings Cup to minnows Polideportivo Ejido in midweek.
Manuel Pellegrini’s team travel to promoted Malaga tomorrow, who were unfortunate not to beat Real Madrid on their own ground last weekend losing 4-3 against 10 men.
Valencia are a point behind Villarreal in third — with Real fourth on the same points after a strong start to the campaign — under new coach Unai Emery and host Sporting Gijon today.
TODAY: Valladolid v Real Madrid, Valencia v Sporting Gijon; TOMORROW: Getafe v Sevilla, Malaga v Villarreal, Almeria v Real Mallorca, Atletico Madrid v Deportivo La Coruna, Espanyol v Numancia, Real Betis v Racing Santander Athletic Bilbao v Osasuna, Recreativo Huelva v Barcelona. — AFP
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