Mexican coach wary of J’can threat
MEXICO CITY, Mexico — Though Mexico boast a vastly superior record at home against Jamaica in World Cup Qualifying, head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre is leaving nothing to chance, and has asked his players to perform at their best in order to wrap up the three points.
“I’m not paying attention to statistics, what the statistics say are in the past and what Jamaica has done in the past is not important here, the important thing is to win this game,” was de la Torre’s response to the Jamaica Observer, through an interpreter, at a crowded press conference at the Mexican federation’s High Performance Centre yesterday.
In five World Cup Qualifying engagements at home, the Mexicans have recorded five wins, with 23 goals scored, as opposed to Walter Boyd’s lone strike in a 2-1 result on October 16, 1996.
Yesterday’s press conference took place minutes after the team held its last training session at the well-laid-out High Performance Centre, which has five well-manicured pitches, two multi-storey dorms, plus administrative and technical blocks, as well as a gymnasium.
“I am placing emphasis on my players not taking this game lightly, because they need to take care of the great players Jamaica have and the great team play that they have,” continued de la Torre.
“I am transmitting these important details to my players, as we will analyse each player and the team as a whole. There are no small opponents anymore and Jamaica is not.
“We can’t relax, we can’t lay back and we have to do our best to win this game,” he concluded to the lone question allowed to the Jamaican media.
But because of their superior record, it is the general view here that the home side will score a handsome victory. Indeed, some are even of the view that there could very well be a goal feast.
“No reason to be worried, de la Torre has led the team to only three defeats in 29 games and he has guided the team to 12 victories in 12 CONCACAF official games,” one newspaper reporter here has said.
During the semi-final phase of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying series, Mexico emerged unscathed with maximum 18 points from six games, with a goal difference of 13, which is an indication of them scoring workmanlike victories, rather than blowouts.
In fact, they managed just one huge triumph, a 5-0 result against Guyana in the United States.
Jose Manual de la Torre has chosen nine members of last summer’s London Olympics gold medal-winning team. Among them are over-age striker Oribe Peralta, who scored both goals against Brazil in the gold medal match.
The squad also includes defender Moreno, midfielders Javier Aquino from Villareal, Andres Guardado from Valencia and Giovani dos Santos from Mallorca, all Spanish La Liga clubs; and forward Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez of English Premier League top team Manchester United.
The Mexicans, without their European-based players, ended 1-1 in their warm-up match against Denmark in Arizona last week.