Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino discusses his team’s 4-1 loss to Toronto Sunday in the regular-season finale. The loss costs Atlanta United the Supporters’ Shield and the No. 1 seed in the MLS playoffs.
On the performance: “I didn’t find a team with the defiance to turn the rhythm of the game. Even though in the second half we tried a little more, because furthermore I saw a team that had lost all of the football that we’d played up until two or three weeks ago and that’s the most important. Today we have to recover that if we want to have a chance in the playoffs.”
Did the game coincide with rumors that had have been popping up about your future and is that a fair assessment and do you think that the decision this week that you were not going to return affected the guys?: “For me no, but I couldn’t assure you that. I understand that the goal of the team was superior than anything that’s going to happen next year. We worked all year to achieve a goal, the players themselves put in a great amount of effort and tonight we didn’t play well.”
How do you pull this team out of this especially on the road?: “Something new is starting. It has nothing to do with the regular season and what ended today. This season, putting aside the game tonight, we did very well but now we have to focus on the playoffs. We have to try to make sure that what took place in the last 90 minutes doesn’t have an effect on our performance.”
On his message to the team: “My message today to them wasn’t comfortable. Not at halftime or after the game. What we have to talk about for next week, we’ll start on Tuesday. Today, the reality is that we should have had a different type of performance. I think we betrayed ourselves because indefinitely it’s what we were talking about. A lot of effort since January 15 until today for 90 minutes is like throwing away a year’s effort. It’s clear that losing to Toronto away from home is a possibility, but what stands out is the way it happened.”