Vucetich: 'Keep the faith and come together'

Posted by John Sutcliffe

MEXICO CITY -- Víctor Manuel Vucetich, in an interview with ESPN reporter John Sutcliffe at the Mexican national team training center, expressed his desire that fans support El Tri in the critical match against Panama at Azteca Stadium on Oct. 11. "Vuce" asks Mexicans to keep the faith in qualifying for the World Cup as the team will be giving everything they’ve got.

Sutcliffe asked Vucetich about the call-ups of Guillermo "Memo" Ochoa, Rafa Marquez, Lucas Lobos and Carlos Vela, two of whom (Marquez and Lobos) are already on the list of players to train with the team from Sept. 22 to 25.


You talked about finding a hot potato to turn into a golden egg. How are you going to do this?
- Logically, by appealing to the players' high level of play, making them understand the seriousness of our situation, with everyone living up to the commitment they have made, and without a doubt having many players on the squad, whom I know perfectly well, and having them bring out the abilities that I know they have at this moment.

Mexico has been seeking the element of confidence for several months. How will you get the national players to regain their confidence?
- I don't think we have any other choice. We have a vital match coming up. When you play with all you've got, it comes out, knowing that if you don't, you risk a draw.

You said that the players in Europe don't necessarily have a spot assured if they're not playing. Why?
-Because the important thing is playing soccer – it's not the place. It matters how well you are playing and the situations you find yourself in. If you are playing well, you'll undoubtedly play in Europe or Mexico. You have the opportunity to show what you can do in these places. Your performance will be better, and above all right now, the national team needs these players to commit themselves to face this situation, play for their country, and play for the World Cup qualification of Mexico.

How will you manage the particular situation with Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez?
- From my standpoint it is simple. I think you have to see how he's doing and depending on that, we'd have to talk and determine how things are. At this point, we don't have time to choose. We need complete support. If a player comes on for five minutes and gives everything he's got, those five minutes will have been essential in winning the qualification.

What abilities do you see in Carlos Vela?
- He's a player we've seen through the media. He's a fast player, he knows exactly what's happening on the field, brings rhythm to the game – which is important – and has elements such as confidence.

What do you like about Lucas Lobos' game?
- He's a player with talent who has performed very well in Liga MX, specifically with Tigres. He has a temperament for facing the challenges. He does not reject communication or commitments. These are players who will be useful when called upon.

Is Rafa Marquez the leader you need on the field for this final round of games?
- If he is at his optimal physical level, he is undoubtedly a player with ability and a future, but the most important thing for him to have is the type of play we need.

The case of Guillermo Ochoa is that of a player who didn't want to be called to the national team (if he didn't start). You have Nicolas Navarro on your coaching staff in charge of the goalkeepers.
- Nicolas is the goalkeeper coach but I make the decisions as to who plays. If we take into account that the keeper has to be named, we can't guarantee the starting job. I repeat, we are looking for the right players.

Should New Zealand be the team Mexico plays against?
- It depends more on us if we want to get that far. I know that circumstances may bring direct qualification, but that does not depend on us. It's this game that depends on us.

Would you like to add anything else?
- Hope is alive until the end. I ask my people to keep the faith, because if our people lose faith then so will we. We have an enormous amount of faith and, because of this, we are here fighting. There is an extraordinary optimism on the team and we are looking for the best players that can perform well for the Mexican national team. We need them to give their all after going through some failure. They can breathe new life into the team, as can the fans and the media. We must come together now.

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