The circumstances surrounding Saturday's Mexican "Clasico" with Club America vs. Guadalajara (Chivas), might not seem to favor a great match, but it always turns out that way, says Chivas defender Hector Reynoso.
"Besides the fact that the points are in contention as well as the prestige of playing in a Clasico, I always say that these games have to be played with a lot of heart, with conviction and respecting those who have played before, establishing history, so that we can make our own," Reynoso said of Mexico's biggest rivalry, contested by the nation's two most popular teams.
Both Chivas and America won their respective matches this past Tuesday, but Chivas is still two points away from playoffs spots at 11th with six games left in the regular season. The top eight teams make the playoffs.
John van 't Schip, who took over the reigns at Chivas for Johan Cruyff in April 2012, asked the fans for "patience." Chivas has won a record 11 Mexican titles while America is tied for second with 10, and Chivas fans have high expectations.
"I want to win with Chivas, this should be a winning team, it is a great club, wtih more fans in Mexico, and that is why it is tough to be patient, but we must move forward with our plan," he said. "It is many things. At the beginning, we thought that it would be easier, but there have been many injuries and we have not been able to play with our usual lineup."
Meanwhile, America coach Miguel Herrera used van 't Schip's struggles as an opportunity for his players.
"What Dutch school?" Herrera said. "I don't see any revolution, sincerely. I would have loved that when Cruyff said he was coming he would have brought something. We thought it would be something different because the Dutch have been innovators but of that there is nothing (at Chivas)."
With six games left in the regular season, America is in fourth place in the standings. The team's last title was in 2005.
"We know that if we win it will be a very important step for qualifying," Herrera said of his team, which has won its past five matches. "If we win, we will bury Chivas even further and that would be marvelous for our fans for bragging rights."