ARLINGTON, Texas — Mexico manager Juan Carlos Osorio says Hirving Lozano is ready for a move to a bigger league but also hopes the winger continues to accept constructive criticism.
Lozano moved to PSV from Pachuca last summer and has been a success in the Eredivisie, leading the Dutch league with 14 goals. Lozano scored in a 3-0 victory over VVV Venlo last weekend, marking his return from a three-match suspension for his second red card in as many meetings with Heerenveen, and Osorio said one of the player's next challenges is to become less emotional on the field.
In Mexico's 3-0 win over Iceland on Friday, the soft-spoken 21-year-old could be seen punching a defender in the back as Miguel Layun's second goal of the night crossed the goal line. While the referee didn't notice the incident, Osorio said he and his staff spotted the indiscretion and planned to use it as a teaching moment.
"I think today it’s very easy to say that Hirving has to be play the starting XI of the Mexican national soccer team," Osorio said in a news conference Monday. "It wasn’t like that two years ago. I’ve always thought it’s my responsibility and I take it on as that to make choices and take on the criticism based on the results. I remember when we brought Hiriving to the national team, for a lot of people he was a simple player with a lot of speed."
"At that time, "Tecatito" (Jesus Corona) was one of the only players who couldn’t be dropped. I always thought Tecate was one of the best players in the duels, with his change of direction, ability to turn, his low center of gravity and ability to turn. I always thought that Hirving, with other characteristics (than Corona), could be exportable. Today, for me, It’s very gratifying and makes me very happy to see Hirving where he is."
"Now we have to contain Hirving, and among those things is his emotional control. It didn’t escape our notice that, on our third goal, Hirving acted in an inappropriate way that could cause us problems in the future.
"We’re all taking that on, but we think Hirving, as we thought two years ago, has the potential to go to a bigger club, and to a league with more history, respecting and appreciating PSV and the Dutch league for believing in our talent and our players. We we know how to manage Hirving and that he, as it seems, accepts constructive criticism and becomes a player who attacks well like (the players) there are in other teams (and are) valued highly."
Lozano was likely to start against Croatia on Tuesday, but with six Croatian players returning to Europe after taking part in Friday's friendly against Peru, Osorio said he may make a few modifications to the lineup he anticipated using.
"We’re going to continue with the plan, but we’re thinking seriously about give a chance to three of our young players. They’re thinking of the future and we are as well," he said. "It’s worth thinking about Edson (Alvarez), Jorge (Hernandez), Omar (Govea), about Jonathan (Gonzalez), and we’ll see the XI we’re going to put on the field. It’s definitely going to give us the chance to win and compete against a team we still respect a lot despite their absences."
The match is set to kick off at 10 p.m. ET, with more than 55,000 tickets already sold, according to organizers. The last time Mexico played in North Texas, El Tri battled to a 2-2 draw with Argentina in a September 2015 friendly.