real madrid in crisis

Calderon: We won't panic over poor run

November 18, 2008

Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon continued to preach a message of calm on Tuesday after the club were forced to publicly back under-fire coach Bernd Schuster.

Schuster's position has come into question over the past week with Madrid's shock Copa del Rey exit at the hands of Segunda Division B side Real Union followed by a 1-0 defeat at Real Valladolid on Saturday.

The weekend setback prompted a wave of criticism and led to the club's sporting director Predrag Mijatovic facing the media last night to issue the German with a vote of confidence.

Calderon believes the club were right to try to nip the issue in the bud.

He told Cadena Ser: "Somebody needed to calm the situation because certain stories have come out which aren't true. We're in November and this has only just begun.

"I don't know what's going to happen this year, but we can't start playing guessing games. Yes we've lost two games, but that's no reason to panic. We don't act lightly and frivolously here.''

Calderon admitted the Copa exit was a setback but stressed the club's record in that competition was already poor.

"The elimination from the Copa del Rey, something which should never have happened, is something that should not be so alarming,'' he said. "The thing is you can't win every game. It's 16 years since Real Madrid won the Copa del Rey, so I don't think this is a current problem for this team or for Schuster or the directors.''

Schuster arrived at the Bernabeu from Getafe in July last year and promptly helped the club defend the Primera Liga title they won the previous term under Fabio Capello.

Things have not gone quite so well this season, though, with Madrid lying fourth in the Primera Liga, five points adrift of bitter rivals Barcelona.

Schuster's situation has not been helped by a crippling injury list that has seen prolific forward Ruud van Nistelrooy ruled out for up to nine months, and has also left Arjen Robben, Pepe, Ruben de la Red, Christoph Metzelder and Mahamadou Diarra sidelined for varying periods of time.

But Calderon is confident that over time, and with some of those players making a return, the club can still challenge domestically and in the Champions League.

He said: "This is the team that last season broke the record for the number of points earned in a season, who scored the most goals and who conceded the least. I'm not saying that we're doing things perfectly, but you have to give us the benefit of the doubt.

"I'm upset too, but we shouldn't be thinking we're in a desperate situation. We have to stay calm.''

Calderon's critics claim he is afraid of firing Schuster, a notion dismissed out of hand by the 57-year-old lawyer.

"I've never acted like a coward,'' he said. "When it's time for someone to be replaced, they will be replaced, but now that's not the case.

"The club members know that when I became president my promise was clear, that I would not get involved in the decisions made by the sporting director. And that's what I'm doing.

"If there needs to be a dismissal, Mijatovic will have to propose it, just as it happened when he decided to end Capello's contract.''