Simon Rolfes didn't even want to let a coaching discussion arise. And so the head of sport at Bayer Leverkusen made an honest effort to classify the interim results of the experiment with Xabi Alonso, which began at the beginning of October, accordingly.
"We said it's a long way, it's a hard way. You can't just snap your fingers and that's it," said Rolfes. But after the 0: 2 at RB Leipzig and slipping to relegation rank 16, you have to tighten up under the Bayer cross as quickly as possible in order not to end up in the second division.
So far only one Bayer victory under Alonso
The quality of the team is of course too high for that. But on paper there is only one win after six games under the Spaniard. In addition, there is the blatant harmlessness shown in Leipzig on the offensive. After 90 minutes there was a shot on target in the statistics, full-back Daley Sinkgraven was free after a good hour. "We didn't manage to go forward," said Robert Andrich. Leipzig, on the other hand, had Christopher Nkunku and Timo Werner, who used two of the cup winner's three chances in a game that was not very vivid.
This inevitably leads to the question of whether Bayer has gambled away with the Alonso venture. The 40-year-old has experienced everything on the pitch as a professional, but Leverkusen is his first big job on the sidelines. Previously, he gained experience as coach of Real Sociedad's second team, where the pressure may not have been even a tenth of what it is now.
Alonso: "What we are doing is going in the right direction"
The game in Leipzig doesn't bring you much further in your search for an answer. The result didn't fit, the offensive got stuck - and yet a development compared to predecessor Gerardo Seoane can be seen. Bayer is more stable defensively, plays more controlled and more intense. The team is definitely a unit, albeit an unlucky one at the moment.
And Alonso? Actually does the right thing. The 2010 World Champion encourages his players and maybe a little himself too. "What we're doing is going in the right direction. We'll show better things. I have the feeling that everyone in the dressing room is sticking together and is ready fight," said Alonso. "I think we have the quality to show better results. We don't get depressed." Alonso speaks in a low voice, but his words come through, are firm and believable.
In the end there were even a few warm words from Leipzig's coach Marco Rose. "I wish you that you get positive results to continue working well on what you started," said the Leipziger. The Spaniard, sitting two meters away, thanked him with a nod and a smile. He would have preferred the points.