As the owners of the first division clubs and the President of the Federación Mexicana de Fútbol (FMF) met on Monday, the balance of the future job prospects of coach Jose Manuel De La Torre, better known as ‘Chepo‘, was in doubt.
After a disappointing summer for México, one which culminated with a loss in the semifinals of the Gold Cup to Panama, it appeared as if Chepo De La Torre and his run as México coach had come to it’s end. In fact, many were calling for him to be relived of his post, including myself.
Yet after a lengthy meeting, one that included a tongue lashing from the Pachuca sporting director Andres Fassi, Chepo De La Torre was given the backing from the vast majority of the club owners and President of FMF to remain as coach of the national team.
While I did advocate letting Chepo De La Torre go, I fully understand why he was retained as coach. Aside from the politics of the situation, replacing a coach so late in the World Cup Qualifying cycle, especially when the team at this moment in time is mathematically in the 2014 World Cup by occupying the third spot in the CONCACAF Hexagonal Final Qualifying round, is not the most convenient thing to do.
But for Chepo De La Torre, the near loss of his job should serve as a impetus for him to change his ways on and off the field. On the field, Chepo De La Torre must change and vary not only his formation but how he lines up his team on the field. The biggest issue and complaint from Mexican fans and journalists is that México are predictable in terms of how they play and the tactical modifications he makes.
The best example of this is the insistence of playing with two defensive midfielders thus taking away one extra attacking player from the team, especially when facing against inferior opposition. The cautious and nervous formation reflects in the team’s play. Looking at México play in 2013, they clearly reflect this personality with their play and the stubbornness of the coach to modify has been baffling.
Aside from needing to modify what he does tactically, Chepo De La Torre will also need to modify how he communicates with the press and by extension the fans. Watching him speak with the press, he appears like he is fighting a war, always responding in an aggressive tone and this in turn makes press and fans respond in kind, especially when results and play are not good like they are now.
By softening his tone, Chepo De La Torre will then start to create and foster a positive tone and atmosphere around him and by extension, around the team. By creating such positive atmosphere around him and then around the team, it will relax the players when they play on the national team and in turn, lead to improved play. Essentially, creating positive vibes will lead to the team playing in a positive way.
When you are on the verge of losing something you love doing, this gets you as an individual to change and modify your ways after some deep introspection. For Chepo De La Torre, he was close to losing his dream job on Monday. With that in mind, his experience yesterday should serve as an eye opener to get him to change and modify in order to give himself a chance of a happy ending as the coach of México.