Time running out for Schuster

Valladolid 1 Real Madrid 0

The Real Madrid coach Bernd Schuster will be given one match to save his job when club directors meet today, after being beaten 1-0 by modest Valladolid on Saturday – the current champions' third loss in four games.

"The defeats have come in different competitions," Schuster said afterwards as if that meant the run did not count. In the eyes of some Bernabeu power-brokers the fact that Real Madrid have spread their poor form across three tournaments only makes matters worse.

They are now out of the Spanish Cup after losing in midweek to a third division team and they have complicated their Champions League qualification by losing at home to Juventus. Not since Vicente Del Bosque, who took the job in 1999 and left in 2003, has a coach survived into his third season and Schuster looks unlikely to buck that trend. Since Del Bosque, six coaches have come and gone in five years and Schuster (right), having won the league in his first season, now appears to be on borrowed time in his second. "I don't deserve to be asked that," he said after being questioned whether he was capable of turning Madrid around.

His supporters argue that his league win last season means he deserves time. But his detractors say he only won the Spanish title on the coat-tails of now-England manager Fabio Capello, who won it the previous season. If Schuster loses next week's home match with Recreativo de Huelva his critics will get their way and he will be gone. Successors are already being lined-up. Juande Ramos might be damaged goods after his failure at Tottenham but his success at Seville means his stock is still high in Spain and he has supporters inside the club.

Others favour promoting the technical secretary Miguel Angel Portugal who played for the club and is the former youth team manager. The youth team coach and former Spain winger Michel also has his supporters.

"We are content with Schuster and we have full confidence in the coaching team," said captain Raul after the game but on the pitch the players failed their coach when he needed them most. They huffed and puffed against a side that only last week were hit for six by Barcelona but they failed to score in a league match for the first time this season. As a result Nestor Canobbio's second-half strike was enough to win the game although a point-blank save from the outstanding Sergio Asenjo to deny Raul was still needed before the home fans could celebrate a famous victory.

The former Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze added to Real's misery by getting himself sent off with three minutes left and afterwards he did little to talk up dressing room harmony. He said: "I am just upset about the defeat. I would rather not talk about the things that are being said about the coach. There is no questioning the effort and the application of the players but nothing is going our way."

Schuster's greatest defence as he hangs on to his job might turn out to be the Cristiano Ronaldo saga. The German coach warned in August against spending too long trying to tempt one player at the expense of a viable Plan B. After the Ronaldo snub, Real made late bids for Valencia striker David Villa and Villarreal winger Santi Cazorla but both turned down the move.

Now with the winger Arjen Robben missing and the striker Ruud van Nistelrooy out for the season those failings are beginning to take their toll.

Last week Madrid enquired after the out-of-favour Internazionale striker Hernan Crespo with a view to a January move. But Jose Mourinho has suggested he will not aid a potential Champions League rival saying: "If Crespo is important for Real Madrid, then he is also important for us. The winter transfer window is nearly always for those teams who did not do their work properly in the summer."

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
news
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick