Real Madrid gave under-fire coach Bernd Schuster a vote of confidence following a turbulent week that left the Spanish champions five points behind leader Barcelona and out of the Copa del Rey.
|Is time running out for Bernd Schuster? [GALLO/GETTY]
Madrid sports director Predrag Mijatovic said president Ramon Calderon and the board of directors had "full confidence in our players, our coaching staff'' after recent Spanish reports said Schuster could be fired after a 1-0 loss at Valladolid.
The German coach is under pressure after back-to-back losses to Juventus in the Champions League and an embarrassing fourth-round loss to Real Union in the domestic cup competition, which it hasn't won since 1993.
"Sure, after losing at home in that kind of game, that can lead you to want to make a change of ideas going forward, but we have trust in our coach,'' Mijatovic said.
"He's a coach who has achieved a lot and brought great results to Madrid, so we can't be upset with him. And we can't start confusing these ultimate results with a decision that could be a mistake.''
Track record of change not patience
Madrid has a history of shuffling coaches after a short spell, withSchuster replacing Fabio Capello after the Italian coach led Madrid to the league trophy in 2007.
Schuster, the club's eighth coach in nine years, defended that trophy easily last season as Barcelona stumbled and Villarreal started slowly.
This season, Barcelona and Villarreal are at the top of the table.
"Madrid has one of the best teams in Europe, that's my opinion,'' Mijatovic said.
"And this team has the ability to react. This team can finish this season by winning the title. We've always had faith that this team can come through.''
Madrid's poor form has been coupled by the loss of Ruud van Nistelrooy, who could miss the rest of the season following knee surgery. Madrid has been without several regulars over the past week, mostly to injury.
Cheque book ready
Mijatovic said the club would look to make up to two transfer signings to replenish the club's ailing roster, with a striker the priority.
| Bernd Schuster needs positive results soon [GALLO/GETTY]
"We'll try to strengthen the team in that position, from midfield up,'' Mijatovic said.
"Now we're working on different opportunities. We are going to do all we can to sign one or two players that will help us moving forward.''
In the offseason, Madrid failed to sign Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo or Valencia forward David Villa, and lost Brazil forward Robinho to Manchester City in August.
"We had a lot of motivation to sign Cristiano Ronaldo ... but Manchester never wanted to get rid of the player. We tried and in the end it couldn't be,'' Mijatovic said.
"We tried to sign other players and for the same reasons it couldn't be because these are big teams who don't want to let go of their important players.''
Mijatovic also pleaded with the club's fans to stay behind Schuster and the squad at this weekend's league match against Recreativo Huelva.
"When a team from the third division eliminates us, it's normal for them to be upset with us. It's something that now can only help to motivate us,'' Mijatovic said.
"I have a lot of confidence and faith in what this team can do this season.''
But Mijatovic still left the door open for a change if the current run of results continued and Madrid didn't at least win its record 32nd league trophy or 10th European Cup.
"That I cannot assess. I never think about situations that still haven't occurred,'' the former Madrid player said of the consequences of a home defeat to Recreativo.
"If the objectives aren't reached, then we'll make a new evaluation, but I'm sure that the results will be with us.''