Humble Herrera keeping El Tri’s feet on the ground

Ahead of Mexico's must win playoff against New Zealand, the team's new manager is attempting to guard against overconfidence.

Mexico coach Miguel Herrera is confident his team can navigate the World Cup playoff against New Zealand, but he is guarding against the kind of overconfidence he says has blighted El Tri’s Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign to date.

“We’ve talked about what happened in the (World Cup) process because of an excess of confidence,” Herrera told Central Deportiva. “You could be the best team in the world, but you have to show it day-to-day on the field.

“Your statistics don’t play,”

Despite most of New Zealand’s players not being exactly household names in Mexico, Herrera – taking charge of his first official game as the national team boss – says he has spent plenty of time studying Mexico’s opposition ahead of Wednesday’s clash in the Estadio Azteca and believes the absence of All Whites captain and West Ham defender Winston Reid is a significant blow.

“We have watched New Zealand a lot, all the games it has had recently and also in qualifying,” Herrera told the same outlet. “They’ve had the unfortunate situation of losing their best man (Reid), a strong defender, one of the more emblematic (New Zealand) players … Of course it’s a handicap in our favor because he is the soul of the group, the talker, the captain.”