Sanchez Flores reveals victory relief

BY foxsports • January 18, 2010

Atletico Madrid coach Quique Sanchez Flores conceded his side did not start or end their clash with Sporting Gijon particularly well.

But Sanchez Flores was pleased with what he saw in-between as the Rojiblancos claimed what he described as a "very important" 3-2 triumph.

Diego Forlan put Atletico ahead early on and although Sporting drew level through a 34th-minute penalty, the Rojiblancos still looked set to seal a comfortable win thanks to second-half goals from Paulo Assuncao and Ibrahima Balde.

However, after Atletico had missed a host of chances to kill the game off, Sporting set up a tense last few minutes when they reduced the deficit to 3-2 in injury-time.

Atletico managed to hold on for the win, but Sanchez Flores admitted they did not make it easy for themselves.

"We didn't play well in the first period, we were unable to get out of our own half, but after the re-start the match changed. We had more ball possession and were in Sporting's half for longer," the Atletico boss said on his club's website.

"We suffered unnecessarily at the end. It was a bit strange. We lost the ball during an attack and they scored their goal.

"In any case, those small details are easy to correct. It was a testing match and we earned three very important points."

The victory means Atletico have won four of their five competitive games in 2010, having endured a dismal time of it before Christmas when they suffered their worst start to a league season in 56 years and were also eliminated from the Champions League in the group stages.

Atletico are still in the bottom half of the Primera Division, but Sanchez Flores believes they are improving all the time.

"The players are more confident, they believe in what they're doing. They've regained the momentum and their positive mental state," he said.

"The positive results have had an influence. The lads had been working well, but the results weren't coming. Now after the last few wins, we have more confidence and we believe in our chances."

Sanchez Flores feels the home win over Sevilla on the first weekend back after Christmas was the turning point.

Atletico trailed 1-0 at half-time in that match but ended up winning 2-1 when captain Antonio Lopez scored with virtually the last kick of the game.

"That win was very important because of the way we earned the three points and for the attitude of the players. We feel that we're getting better and more confident every day," Sanchez Flores said.

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