Martino not putting priority on maintaining Mexico winning streak

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Elijah Nouvelage
The manager has won all three of his matches at the helm of El Tri but is more concerned about how his team plays than winning friendly matches

Tata Martino has led the Mexico national team to three victories in as many matches since taking over the team at the beginning of 2019, but the coach is not getting hung up on extending the streak.

Ahead of Sunday's match against Ecuador, the final contest for each team ahead of their respective regional championships kicking off later this month, the coach said he's more worried about getting wins when it matters in the Gold Cup rather than blowing out South American teams in friendly games.

"I'm one of those who things the best lessons and way to see exactly where we're at - it's not that I want to lose - but I think defeats give you more than victories," he said at a news conference. "Victories make you skip over some questions that have to do with the football, and things outside the football. And sometimes the defeats put us in the true situation of how we're doing in the process, if we're as solid as we think we are. With wins, it's easy to put in too much praise."

If not Sunday, Martino will hope the first defeat doesn't come until the fall. El Tri's Gold Cup campaign kicks off June 15 against Cuba before group matches against Canada and Martinique. While the CONMEBOL teams may be at a higher level, the coach is still hoping his team takes on the group stage of the Gold Cup with respect.

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"The reality is any of the three teams we’ve played and Ecuador tomorrow the fourth, they’ve had a lot more history than Cuba, Martinique and Canada, beyond what I’ve said about Canada’s team and what I think about Canada’s potential," he said. "Without a doubt, they’re national teams that have history, good route and more experience than teams we’re going to face. But now we’re playing friendly matches and the other ones are ones that really mean something, in a tournament. The mentality of the team should be consistent. 

"In a friendly match, beyond the fact that while a defeat always has consequences, the consequences of using a friendly are different than the ones in official tournaments."

Mexico faces Ecuador at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday before traveling to Los Angeles to continue preparations for the tournament.

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