Mexico: 5 Priorities for New Manager Victor Manuel Vucetich
It is official. Mexico have a new boss. The Mexican Football Federation decided to bring in Victor Manuel Vucetich for the next couple of games in which the squad will fight for the ticket to the playoff round of the World Cup.
The matchup between the fourth-place CONCACAF team and the champion of Oceania Football Confederation, New Zealand, will decide the last team to qualify for Brazil 2014.
Vucetich takes over Mexico in its worst football crisis. The expectations are high and the problems are numerous. But which things should he prioritize?
In the past couple of games, against Honduras and the United States, we have seen some serious fitness issues.
Christian Gimenez is a clear example of this. He is a great addition to the team because he has provided creativity and depth. However, he is not capable of playing 90 minutes.
The same thing happens with Carlos Salcido and Gerardo Torrado. They do not have enough legs for this challenge.
They may be leaders, but that does not make up for their lack of fitness.
Carlos Salcido and Javier Rodriguez were standard-bearers of Mexican football between 2005 and 2011. Their performance at the 2005 Confederations Cup and the 2006 World Cup was superb.
Seven years later, they have to leave. They do not belong anymore because they cannot compete fairly. Salcido was so overtaken by the rival attackers that he had to hold them from the waist to prevent them from moving inside the box.
Another thing that Vucetich must take into consideration is that the footballers who play abroad, like Javier Hernandez and Andres Guardado, are not at their best.
"Chicharito" can change a game with one header or shot, granted, but he has to play inside or close to the box. He is not a playmaker, and in all fairness, he lacks continuity with Manchester United, which hurts the national team.
Oribe Peralta does not play outside the country, but he gives 100 percent, always.
It is time to overlook hierarchy just because some of these footballers play abroad or have been with "El Tri" for almost a decade.
There is no question that most of these players belong to the team. At least 16 of them are undisputed starters with their clubs.
One of the things that Vucetich needs to change quickly is the mindset. The team lacks passion and devotion. It seems as if someone had forced them to be on the team instead of showing up just for the pride and respect of wearing the jersey.
Vucetich is not a man who shows many emotions on the pitch, but that should not be a concern. Five Liga MX and three CONCACAF Champions titles speak for him.
Let's face it, the team is predictable and slow. The players run around the pitch with no idea of what to do with the ball.
There is no point in stealing the ball if they will lose it after three passes. They have to control it and try to generate real goal opportunities with quick touches instead of clearing the ball in the hope that someone wins it.
Running through the sidelines and sending crosses is not helping. It is time to bring in faster players who have the ability to unbalance the defense with creativity and depth
Vucetich is a coach who can develop a project, hence the need to give the younger players more opportunities. We have seen how different they are from the veterans.
Aside from age, they have a different mindset. They want to win, and they have actually done it.
They fought hard at the Summer Olympics, the U-17 and U-20 World Cups. Their results surprised most people because only a handful believed it could be possible.
It is time to open the door for these footballers. Jorge Torres Nilo can come in for Carlos Salcido. Diego Reyes has done a good job in the centre-back, relegating Rodriguez to the bench, and Hector Herrera and Javier Aquino just need a little more continuity to take over the midfield.
It is time to believe in them and use them to find the right balance for this team.