Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer says a report that the club wants to loan Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez is “ridiculous.”
Martínez, Atlanta’s marquee January signing, has not enjoyed a good first half of the 2019 Major League Soccer season. On Monday, Argentine news outlet TyC Sports and journalist César Luis Merlo reported Martínez was on the outs with de Boer and the manager was looking for a team to take the player on loan. TyC Sports and Merlo have made accurate reports regarding Atlanta United and Argentine players, including the acquisition of Ezequiel Barco, in the past.
De Boer told reporters he was not aware of the news until his son-in-law messaged him Tuesday morning.
“It’s ridiculous,” the manager said at the Children’s Healthcare Training Ground, per audio provided by the club. “It’s just halfway through the season. I always say the first six months are always the hardest ones for everyone who comes into a new culture. He has to adapt, and it comes with ups and downs.”
Martínez has two goals and four assists through 18 league games this season. He has exited each of Atlanta’s past three games before the 70th minute. The 13th-minute substitution at the Chicago Fire July 3 came as de Boer shuffled his lineup following the sending off of center back Leandro González-Pírez.
But against the Montreal Impact June 29 and the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, de Boer removed the No. 10 because of his performances. After the Montreal game, de Boer said Martínez was making too many mistakes that were “a danger for the team.” Following the draw against New York, de Boer said Martínez was not winning enough duels and the manager wanted “not 10 or nine or eight men [who work hard]. Everybody has to work.”
The manager backed his player Tuesday.
“We have a lot of confidence in his quality, there’s no doubt about it,” de Boer said. “He knows that he has to be better, he wants to do better, he’s working hard for it, so we have a lot of trust in him. I don’t know where those rumors come from. It’s not based on anything.”