Martino: Mexico must perfect its Plan A

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Jayne Kamin-Oncea
The manager said he doesn't want to experiment tactically until his team fully understands the way he wants it to play generally

Mexico manager Tata Martino isn't looking to experiment with tactics or try out anything new. Ahead of El Tri's Gold Cup group match against Canada, the Argentine said he's far more concerned with his team refining what it already is doing best. 

Martino has lined up his team in a 4-3-3 in all five matches he's coached since taking over Mexico in January, with Mexico looking to win the possession game and dominate the contest with the ball. The fullbacks often are called upon to join attacks and overload one side or another to complicate life for defenders. 

Rather than make tweaks - now or after this summer's tournament - Martino said it's about repetition of the same idea until it becomes second nature for the players. 

"I’m still convinced we have to perfect the Plan A," Martino said at a news conference Tuesday. "That’s something you hear a lot in Argentina, people demanding about a change of plan when long-term we’re always talking about the lack of time for a national team manager. For a national team manager, a calendar year is a short amount of time. They demand a Plan B or Plan C when in reality what you have to do is perfect the A. What we’re doing is starting with the A. 

"I’m really happy because I think there’s a clear form to the team, apart from the opponents and the strengths they have, to come out and try to dominate the game. In this sense, we’ve played better at times, other times not as much but the way in which the team plays can clearly be seen." 

His Plan A has worked well so far. El Tri smashed Cuba 7-0 in the first official match of Martino's tenure. Perhaps more impressively, they also won a pair of March friendly matches and both pre-Gold Cup contests - all wins over South American teams and all games in which Mexico scored at least three goals. 

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Raul Jimenez has scored three times for Martino, with two of the goals coming against Cuba. While the Wolves forward, who notched 13 in the Premier League this season, isn't tearing up the scoring charts, Martino said he puts Jimenez ahead of all other forwards in the pool at the moment.  

"Raul is our most important forward, and I'm not talking about only the players in the group for this competition, but Mexican football. Whoever is in, whoever is out, he's the most important forward Mexican football has," Martino said. "I'm not very worried about if my nine is or isn't top scorer on the team. If Dos Santos scores two goals, Chapo Montes might score one, Moreno scores one, Reyes another. Sincerely, I'm not worried about it. What I'm worried about is if he can offer what he's shown he can offer in all the games he's played so far." 

Mexico and Canada will kick off around 10:30 p.m. ET, following the conclusion of the game between Martinique and Cuba and the warm-up period for each team. 

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