Ricardo Lavolpe said he would like to see Estadio Jalisco filled during Atlas home games, but the only way to do that is to produce a winning team.Atlas have not had true glory days since they last won a league title, in the 1950s. But manager Ricardo Lavolpe was around for the closest shot the club had at glory when he managed the team at the turn of the century.
Lavolpe now is demanding a return to the heyday of the previous decade. A trip back to Atlas' strong clubs of the late 1990s will not only bring success but it will also help Atlas fill Estadio Jalisco.
"When there is a team who performs, people will go," Lavolpe told Guadalajara daily Mural. "That's what I'm looking for from Atlas, to return to the years of 97, 98 and 99, when we filled the stadium and people went to see Atlas. I have to demand that again, and the pressure I feel to do so I will pass on to the players."
What is missing from Atlas, Lavolpe said, is a bit of professionalism. Lavolpe said he wants players to live and breath football all the time, not just when they punch in the clock at the team's training grounds.
"Let's understand that it's not just about showing up to a training session and see what happens," Lavolpe said. "Players are professional for a reason, and I demand that professionalism."
One underlying issue Atlas face is the team's recent lack of high-caliber talent coming through the youth system. Lavolpe blamed the team's need of bringing in reinforcements from abroad on the lack of youngsters ready to step in and challenge for starting spots.
"Atlas has always been a feeder team. That's why players like Rafa Marquez or (Juan Pablo) "Chato" Rodriguez left. Now we had to bring in some reinforcements but that doesn't address the overall problem. We must continue to work the youth system so Atlas can produce the caliber of players it's used to."
Ultimately, though, all players must fight to restore the pride Lavolpe had established in the late 90s.
"We have to get back to work, find our discipline, our attitude. The players must demonstrate their understanding," he said. "There is no doubt I demand a lot."
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