Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat for Mexico against Panama in the Gold Cup semifinals has led to another wave of criticism of the Mexican national team south of the border, and especially of coach Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre.
But while the headlines in sports papers were almost unanimous in calling for Chepo’s head, the players have come out in support of their coach.
“He’s a very capable person that works in the best way and I’m very appreciative for the opportunity he has given me,” Monterrey goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco said after the game.
Rafa Marquez Lugo was forthright in saying that the responsibility lies at the feet of the players, who made basic mistakes at both ends of the field, something he implied wasn’t necessarily the coach’s fault.
“It’s time that the players came out to speak and accept the consequences, because at the end we are primarily responsible for this,” Marquez Lugo said.
Miguel Layun added a similar sentiment to that of Marquez Lugo, stressing that it was the players who failed to carry out Chepo’s gameplan, but it was Marco Fabian who was most adamant that De la Torre should not be fired after the team’s latest failure in 2013.
“It would be the worst mistake (to fire Chepo),” said Fabian after the game. “We’re with him until death.
“We’re all in the same boat, nobody is culpable, the players are primarily responsible. There’s nothing we can do about it. We have to change the mindset completely, because Mexico cannot miss out on the World Cup.”