Schuster gets lukewarm Real vote of confidence

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Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster's future is hanging by a thread after he was given a distinctly lukewarm vote of confidence in the Spanish capital last night. The club's sporting director Predrag Mijatovic said that Madrid had "total faith" in their coach but, ominously for Schuster, that he didn't "want to think what will happen if we don't win in front of our own fans on Saturday" .

Media speculation in Spain suggested Schuster was on the verge of being fired following a dismal run of results that has seen Madrid lose four of their last eight competitive matches. And, while Schuster clings on for now, it is clear that the Spanish giants will not tolerate an extended period of poor results.

Mijatovic said: "I am sure there are coaches on the market but we are not looking at that. That is not to say that in the future we won't be obliged to do so. If we lose five games in a row we will have to see. I hope not to be sat here next week."

Madrid are five points behind leaders Barcelona in the league, out of the cup and four points behind Juventus in their Champions League group. However Mijatovic is convinced the club can still enjoy a successful season. "We have one of the best squads in the world and I am convinced that we can finish the year with a title," Mijatovic said. "We have only played 11 games in the league and we are close to the top.

"We have total faith in our coach. We are all very happy with him. In recent games we have done as we have wished. Not only us, but him as well. We want to transmit calm and confidence to the fans."

This weekend Madrid host second-bottom Recreativo de Huelva at the Bernabeu, before facing a testing and potentially critical run of fixtures against BATE Borisov and Zenit St Petersburg in the Champions League, as well as successive league matches against Getafe, Seville, Barcelona, Valencia and Villarreal.

The upcoming January transfer market offers Madrid the chance to bring in reinforcements, and Mijatovic has confirmed they are looking to bring in a couple of new faces if possible. "We will try and strengthen the team with a forward player. We don't know if it will be a front-line striker, a playmaker or a wide player," he said.

"We are working towards this, but we are not going to deny that there are difficulties. We wanted to sign a forward in the summer, we wanted Cristiano [Ronaldo] first and then [David] Villa, but although we couldn't get them we had confidence in the players that we had. We are looking at some names and we will do everything possible to bring in one or two players to help us."