Pressure growing on Atletico Madrid coach Aguirre

Pressure is growing on Atletico Madrid coach Javier Aguirre as the team slides down the table.

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January's departure of Maniche to Inter Milan - without a quality replacement being lined up - is being blamed for Atletico's troubles since the season resumed. Aguirre and Maniche fell out last season and their row continued to simmer into this term.

AS says there was little prospect of Maniche remaining with the club after a blazing row ended with the midfielder screaming at Aguirre "...and what have you won?!!".

The decision to allow Maniche to leave has left Atletico without a genuine ball-winner in midfield, particularly with Thiago Motta struggling with his knee injury.

Along with the Maniche dilemma, Aguirre is also taking big hits on his failure to pursue a deal for Juan Roman Riquelme when the Argie became available from Villarreal before the winter market.

AS says an agreement between Atletico, Villarreal and the player was settled, only for Aguirre and sports director Jesus Garcia Pitarch to pull the plug.

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