Atlanta United midfielder Pity Martinez scores his first goal of the season past Orlando City defenders in a MLS soccer match on Sunday, May 12, 2019, in Atlanta. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton
Photo: ccompton@ajc.com/Curtis Compton

Atlanta United’s Pity Martinez clears the air on frustration and rumors 

Pity Martinez cleared the air and clarified the events of the past two days when the Atlanta United midfielder addressed the media Friday. 

Following an interview with Fox Sports Radio in Argentina, Martinez made it clear he was unhappy with manager Frank de Boer’s comment about him making “dangerous” decisions after a 2-1 win against Montreal and that he wasn’t working hard enough to win duels in a 3-3 tie with the New York Red Bulls. He also said he didn’t agree with de Boer’s coaching tactics. 

However, according to Martinez, the two have had conversations, along with technical director Carlos Bocanegra. He was frustrated at the time, but everything is smoothed over now and he’s happy and where he wants to be with Atlanta United. 

“What I said was my opinion,” Martinez said. “Frank has his opinion, and he’s going to say what he wants to say, but that’s my opinion. It just frustrated me what he said, (but) as I said before I'm always focused on soccer.”

Martinez explained that he hoped de Boer would’ve talked to him behind closed doors before talking to the media. On Friday, de Boer said he doesn’t say things to the media without talking to the players individually first. 

Martinez acknowledged that de Boer likely didn’t get an opportunity to tell him after the game before talking to the media. 

“Those are just things that happen, and as I said, its done and we just have to move forward,” Martinez said. 

In the interview with Fox Radio, Martinez said if it were up to him, he would be back with his old club, River Plate. He later added that there’s no possibility. When asked if he or his agent had asked Atlanta United to loan or sell him back to River Plate, he explained that he was just simply frustrated when he said that, there was nothing more to it. 

“This is where I want to be,” Martinez said. 

With Friday being the first time since he talked to the media since May 12, Martinez said he often declined to be interviewed after games because at that moment he prefers to be isolated. He said he’s talked to members of the communication staff and is working on being more present. 

De Boer understands Martinez’s initial frustration but he also acknowledged his improvement after he scored a goal in Wednesday’s 2-0 U.S. Open Cup quarterfinal win over Saint Louis FC.  He mentioned that Martinez will also start on Sunday against the Seattle Sounders. 

“When you are new in a country, new culture, you have to adapt, the pressure on him to be one of the most important players of the league, its not coming in one day, it takes time,” de Boer said of Martinez. “My role is to get the best out of the team and to get the best results. When I think (a) player is not doing at this moment what we want, then I take him out.”

Martinez said he’s happy with Atlanta United and thanks fans for their support. When he originally was planning to come to Atlanta, Tata Martino was the manager. He liked his style. But things changed when the team brought in de Boer and he recognizes what he has to do to be the best player he can be. 

“Being here as a player, you have to adapt to the style of your manager, and that’s something we all have to get used to,” Martinez said.

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