Mexico head coach Juan Carlos Osorio (pictured) at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, on November 17, 2015. (Photo: Mexsport)
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Juan Carlos Osorio could not have asked for a better start to his tenure as head coach as Mexico launched a bid to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup with maximum points from its first two games.
The Colombian -- named to the top Tricolor post last month -- masterminded fourth-round wins over El Salvador (3-0 home) and Honduras (2-0 away), results that helps smooth his transition into the expectation-packed job.
After brilliant goals by Jesus Corona and Jürgen Damm gave the Mexicans their first victory in Honduras for 22 years on Tuesday, Osorio expressed his satisfaction with the performance.
“It leaves us happy,” the 53-year-old said. “We won well, executing a plan fulfilled by the boys. Our result was through the two wide players. Raúl Jiménez did an excellent job. The second or third factor was ball retention. We lined up six players with aerial strength. It was satisfactory. It leaves us relaxed. We have a great group. We beat a great opponent and now we’ll continue working to prepare for the match against Canada.”
Osorio was also quick to emphasize the squad’s flexibility, which allows him to adjust game plans and personnel. There were five changes made to starting line-up from the El Salvador to the Honduras encounters
“For us, what’s fundamental are the players and it gives Mexico the possibility to play in different setups, plan for matches in a different manner. Each opponent has its own qualities. We have planned certain strategies. We have worked and it is noticeable. First is to maintain calm and to work, continuing to familiarize ourselves with Mexican players in order to give others opportunities.”
On evidence of using 20 players in two games over four days, there can be little doubt that Osorio will jump into Mexico’s ever-deepening player pool during what promises to be a busy 2016.