Mexico Will Become a More Efficient Team Under New Manager Tuca Ferretti
Mexico might not play an exciting style under new manager Tuca Ferretti, but they might end up being a better team.
This article originally appeared on VICE Sports Latin America.
The controversy surrounding Ricardo Ferretti's ascent to Mexican national soccer team manager has finally ceased. Finally, people are beginning to let go of the whole "Piojo-Gate" thing in order to focus on the actual soccer on the field.
And while we've heard so much about Tuca, do we know exactly what is going to change about the team under the Brazilian-Mexican Tigres coach?
So far, not much—at least in regards to the roster. The players called up for the match against Trinidad & Tobago are basically the same players that were available for the Copa America and the Gold Cup. The only two unexpected moves are the inclusion of the legendary Rafael Márquez and the debut of Henry Martin.
With an excess of foreign-based players, and so few high-level Mexican players actually left in Liga MX, there isn't much room left for the kinds of surprises that used to be common every time a new head coach was hired. As a result, the core will continue to be the same old faces from the domestic league and the European-based players.
People have tried to downplay the importance of the European-based players—like Javier Hernandez, Hector Herrera, etc.—but they usually end up being the true difference makers on the team. The Dos Santos brothers' exile—Giovani and Jonathan were left off the team for the current slate of friendlies—won't likely last long. When the right moment comes—that is, when Mexico faces the U.S. in the Confederations Cup playoff match in October—Ferretti will almost certainly bring them back to the team.
What will change are Mexico's tactics and discipline. Ferretti's tactics are quite close to that of José Manuel de la Torre's and very different from Miguel Herrera's. Don't expect an offensive team. If you're familiar with "Tuca", then you know you are likely to see a 4-4-2 formation—different from that of Herrera's 5-3-2— with two wing-backs that won't attack often; two fixed sweepers; two wide-open wingers; a deep-lying forward; and a fixed striker. Balance in every line without going mad upfront.
"Tuca's" arrival will particularly help two players. The first task is to get Héctor Herrera back in the midfield, and not as a right-winger, the position he played during Miguel Herrera's tenure. Herrera's substandard performance in the Gold Cup is all the more reason for Ferretti to move him back to where he plays best.
The second idea has to do with Carlos Vela. Under Piojo's system, the "Bombardero" would play as a second forward just behind Javier Hernández—before he got injured—or Oribe Peralta. But now, he'll be back as a winger, where he has shown his best form with Spain's Real Sociedad.
Ferreti will keep Andrés Guardado as a wide left midfielder, not so close to the center as he used to be in Herrera's 5-3-2. Vela will play as a right-winger in order to move toward the opposite side and be able to strike with his natural foot.
Miguel Herrera's scheme might have given his players more freedom, but it also meant a lack of organization at times. Opponents would block the flanks with wing-backs. But Ferretti's disciplined approach won't allow that to happen anymore.
Honestly there's no better coach than "Tuca" when you're facing the U.S. with only a month to prepare. The previous game plan against the Americans went something like this: keep the ball, keep the ball even more, get bored at keeping the ball, try to clear it out, achieve absolutely nothing against Klinsmann's powerful offense, despair 'till death, concede a goal on a free kick or corner kick, get counterattacked, and die trying. American fans would mock Mexico with #DosaCero chants.
It's very likely that things will change with Ferretti. Mexico will have a good, solid defense, they will attack and maintain possession, but most importantly, they will remain focused, and, above all, will not despair. Mental and tactical discipline is a must, and there is no better man to execute that than Ferretti himself.
Get ready to see a well-organized Mexican team—perhaps a bit boring—but efficient. The Miguel Herrera era is officially over.