5 Reasons Why Mexico Must Stick with Manager Miguel Herrera
Mexico had their best performance in a World Cup held outside of home turf at Brazil. Miguel Herrera is widely responsible for it, because he accomplished the feat just seven months after one of El Tri's worst qualification processes.
Herrera's coaching career includes one Liga MX title in 13 years, but he has always been a changing factor in the teams he has coached.
El Piojo has been in charge of Atlante, (twice), Monterrey, Veracruz, Estudiantes Tecos and America; with the latter, he secured the 2013 Clausura championship.
He has been in front of Mexico since October 2013, and he will keep his job at least until 2018, as the director of national teams confirmed to Fox Sports, per Goal.com (Spanish).
Miguel Herrera proved he has quite a personality. He celebrated goals like no other coach in the World Cup and spoke his mind on a regular basis.
Maybe it was a surprise for the international media outlets, but for Mexican TV and radio stations, as well as for websites, newspapers and magazines, his is a completely normal behavior. One of his most epic moments was when Club America won the 2013 Clausura title.
It is refreshing to see a manager who acts like a human being. He tweets on a regular basis and shares details of his days on and off the pitch.
While in Brazil, he asked the fans to share their celebratory moments with him.
Mexico's coach managed to overturn one of the darkest periods in Mexican football in a matter of months.
Miguel Herrera took over a team that had lost to Honduras for the first time ever at the Estadio Azteca, that had only won once on home soil and that had to go through a playoff to secure its ticket to the World Cup finals.
El Piojo is a fantastic motivator. He started his tenure with 10 players from Club America because he knew they could get the job done.
But after that, he put together a strong team with footballers from the Liga MX and others based in Europe.
His touch permeated through the team. Rafael Marquez acknowledged he had never been in a national team with such a good vibe, as reported by ESPN FC (Spanish).
Herrera not only talks to his players on the pitch, but he also jokes around with them after training and recognizes their achievements.
Estuve con Memo en Ajaccio, Francia. También tiene muchos deseos y ganas de competir, tuvimos muy buena charla. pic.twitter.com/gngszluwKw— Miguel Herrera (@MiguelHerreraDT) February 7, 2014
He Lines Up the Right Players
Every time the European-based footballers join El Tri, there's an inevitable question: Will they start despite their lack of playing time?
Many of them are subs on their teams or have had to appear with the B-teams in order to get some minutes.
Miguel Herrera picked his starting XI according to everyone's performance and durability.
El Piojo didn't call up Club America goalkeeper Moises Munoz, who had appeared in the two-legged playoff vs. New Zealand.
Once in Brazil, he left players like Javier Hernandez, Diego Reyes and Javier Aquino on the bench and only used them when he felt it was necessary.
Chicharito scored against Croatia, Reyes took over Hector Moreno's place, and Aquino made the team after Luis Montes suffered a fracture.
It's good to see the name of the club in which these guys play doesn't get in the way of the coach’s decisions.
His Tactical System Has Given Good Results
Mexico used to play with a traditional 4-4-2 formation before Miguel Herrera's arrival.
All El Piojo teams have played with the 5-3-2 system at some point because it pays off.
The most important elements are the wing-backs and the central midfielder. So, Herrera brought Miguel Layun and Paul Aguilar, who had already played under this scheme with Club America.
Juan Carlos Medina was set to cover the midfield until he injured his ankle during training. But along came Jose Juan Vazquez, who did a splendid job and linked all of the lines smoothly.
Then, he put together the experience of Rafael Marquez, Francisco Rodriguez and Andres Guardado with the youth of Hector Herrera and Giovani dos Santos.
Mexico surprised with their explosive and powerful pace, especially through the flanks. The verticality the squad achieved had never been seen before in a Mexico side.
This Is Just the Beginning of Great Things to Come
The future is bright.
Miguel Herrera changed the team's mindset and their playing style in a matter of months, and that almost gave them a ticket to the quarter-finals.
Granted, there's a lot of room for improvement, but El Tri have four years to make adjustments, learn from their mistakes and arrive in Russia stronger than ever.
Also, Mexico is producing some great generations of footballers. Take a look at Ulises Davila, Jesus Manuel Corona, Candido Ramirez, Isaac Brizuela, Hiram Mier, Carlos Fierro, you name it.
El Tri deserves to have a single coach during the whole four-year process, and El Piojo is for sure the right man to lead this revolution.