Mexico interim head coach Luis Fernando Tena speaks to the media at his introductory press conference on September 7, 2013. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY – Despite only one win in seven CONCACAF Hexagonal outings, new Mexico head coach Luis Fernando Tena is fully confident his team will qualify for next year’s World Cup finals.
Early on Saturday morning, just hours after a 2-1 loss to Honduras, the Mexican Football Federation elected to replace then-head coach José Manuel de la Torre. The man responsible for guiding Mexico to gold at the 2012 Olympic Games was tabbed for the task.
Tena’s first game in charge is a Brazil 2014 encounter on Tuesday against rival United States at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, where it has lost three straight qualifiers by the same 2-0 score.
If history is any indication, the occasion will not overwhelm the 55-year-old, who won domestic crowns as head coach of Cruz Azul and Morelia.
Tena emphasized during his introductory press conference on Saturday that he retains much belief in the players and thinks the current situation can be reversed.
“I have a lot of faith in them, I know a lot of them well,” he said. “They are quality people, serious, professional and very committed. In the early morning, after speaking with some of them, I know that the team is going to improve.”
With such little time before facing the U.S., Tena is already working with the team on its stability over the 90 minutes.
“You have to talk to be more consistent during the match, but I fully believe in this group of players,” Tena added. “We are going to have a good game in Columbus, but obviously in today’s football results can be guaranteed.
“We are going to focus on the mental side of things and on how it relates to match circumstances, in regards to the opponent, their conditions, the field and adapting ourselves in the two days we have to work.”
Mexico is presently fourth in the final round table with eight points, two behind third-place Honduras. The top three teams automatically advance to the World Cup, while the fourth-place finisher will take on Oceania winner New Zealand in a two-legged Intercontinental Playoff.