The coach of the capital club is now under massive pressure as he sees his side lose on the road again, this time to Mauricio Pochettino's plucky troops
A magnificent brace from Verdu, and a goal each from Romaric and Sergio Garcia were enough for Espanyol to seal an impressive 4-2 win over a lacklustre Atletico Madrid side in Spanish Primera Division action at Cornella-El Prat.
Gregorio Manzano went into the game under considerable pressure following the embarrassing Copa del Rey defeat at the hands of Albacete on Thursday, and he was not helped by his players in this game, as they were second best to Mauricio Pochettino's team in every department.
Verdu got his side off to a flyer with a long-range strike from 30 yards after just five minutes of play. The attacking midfielder latched onto the ball in midfield and moved forward before unleashing a shot on goal that dipped just in front of Thibaut Courtois before nestling in the bottom left corner.
The Espanyol No. 10 then doubled his tally just three minutes later with a goal in the same mould as his first strike. He picked up the ball just inside the Atletico half and drove forward completely unopposed before blasting a shot into the bottom left corner from 18 yards.
Things got from bad to worse for Atletico Madrid when the home side took a three goal lead in the 18th minute. It was Sevilla loanee Romaric who inflicted the damage when he traded a neat one-two with Sergio Garcia on the edge of the box before bursting into the penalty area and slotting the ball nicely into the bottom corner.
Manzano's side had been woeful until that half hour mark, but were given a ray of hope when Radamel Falcao popped up with a goal. Eduardo Salvio found space on the right wing and whipped a cross right on to the penalty spot; the Colombian took full advantage by smuggling the ball over the line with a brave header past the oncoming Cristian Alvarez.
Espanyol started the second half in the same vein as the first, and looked dangerous when attacking the Atletico goal. It took just eight minutes of play in the second half before the locals extended their lead.
Verdu was involved again as he counterattacked at pace through the middle and sent a pass out to the right-hand side for Sergio Garcia. The frontman then showed incredible tenacity to bulldoze his way into the box whilst fending off weak challenges before stabbing home from six yards.
The majority of the second half went on without incident until the 83rd minute when Arda Turan struck a consolation when he latched on to a poor Hector Moreno clearance to emphatically volley home from 22 yards past the helpless Alvarez. The result was never in doubt, however, and Manzano faces a real battle to remain in charge of the capital club until the new year.
This result leaves Espanyol in 8th place with 20 points taken from fifteen games. Atletico Madrid have dropped down to 10th in the table on 19 points, just four points from the relegation zone.