Cruz Azul is currently occupies first place under the guidance of head coach Luis Fernando Tena (pictured), who led the team to the 1997 Invierno title as well. (Photo: Mexsport)
MEXICO CITY – Unbeaten Cruz Azul occupies first place in the Liga MX table with 16 points (5-1-0). With the amount of talent on its roster, La Maquina’s success can arguably be attributed to the competition for places on a weekly basis.
That concept is something head coach Luis Fernando Tena sees as a “nice problem”.
“It’s good that the players are wanting to play,” he said. “I repeat, they are first in realizing how the team is, how they ought to be to be able to play and how the internal competition is.
“For me, it is nice to have that problem week to week of who plays, who goes to the bench, who plays in the Under-20 team, and who goes to the Liga de Ascenso team.
For the moment Cruz Azul is only competing only domestically, but that will change next month when the team returns to action in the CONCACAF Champions League (CCL). As a result, Tena asserts that player rotation will become a necessity.
“As of March 12, we start to play in the CONCACAF tournament and we also have to come in with a greater rotation,” the 56-year-old noted.
Although the team is enjoying a splendid start to the 2014 Clausura, Tena was wary about the expectations that Cruz Azul is the favorite to become champion for the first time since 1997 Invierno. Not so coincidentally, he guided that side as well.
“They are doing well,” concluded Tena. “We have to go step by step, match to match. We have a great team like there are six or seven in Mexico and our team is very honest when it is time to play.
“We know that a defeat will touch us and that a different kind of streak will come to us.”
Cruz Azul will open its CCL quarterfinal series against Sporting Kansas City on March 12 at Sporting Park, before returning home for second leg on March 19.