Perhaps as a gentle reminder to his players, Mexico coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre took time in Friday’s press conference to emphasize that his team is charged with impressing the fans against Trinidad and Tobago in Saturday’s Gold Cup quarterfinal.
“The responsibility to the fans is to bring them joy. The people want to see winners,” De la Torre said. “For what our league represents, the responsibility is great and, in the United States too, they want to see us represent.”
The call to entertain comes with Mexico under some pressure after tepid performances so far in the Gold Cup, a stalling World Cup qualifying campaign and a Confederations Cup that was far from memorable.
Next up is the Caribbean side in Atlanta and the Mexico coach was quick to praise The Soca Warriors, suggesting their level of play has improved recently.
“Trinidad has grown,” he said. “The quality of its players, their characteristics, strength and height makes it difficult to defeat.”
Added Chepo: “But we have also grown, we’ve been improving. It’ll be a good test for us.”
Forward Rafael Marquez Lugo took a sterner tone in suggesting it is a do-or-die game for this Mexico side – stripped of the usual first team players – and that the squad has been working hard during the week to get the result.
“Tomorrow will be a test of what we are made of,” said Marquez Lugo. “We have to show (on the field) what we’ve worked on in the week.”
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- Trinidad and Tobago