Osorio enjoying coaching 'unique' Mexico national team with bi-national feel

Juan Carlos Osorio Javier Aquino Mexico
Pedro Pardo
Despite often being the target of heavy criticism, the Colombian manager is enjoying his job, especially El Tri's close ties to fans in the U.S.

SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico — There are plenty of reasons why Juan Carlos Osorio might not like his job. For one, constant criticism follows the Mexico coach at every turn with portions of the fan base and the press frustrated with many of his decisions.

But Osorio says he's still loving the job, and one of the reasons for the joy is Mexico's close relationship with the United States. Osorio was educated and coached in the United States earlier in his career and now coaches a team that plays most of its friendlies in the U.S. That's thanks to the enormous fan base of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans who live in the country and are eager to spend their dollars to see the team.

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"We have the privilege to manage a unique national team," Osorio told Record. "Mexico's case is something special, to have a market not only in your own country but also in the neighboring country and in a world power."

"There are tons of opinions. You have to accept them," he continued, addressing the criticism he faced after lopsided defeat in summer tournaments in both 2016 and 2017. "You have to learn from the positives and work on always trying to give 100 percent to keep winning. Mentally and emotionally these have been two years of learning a lot, an extraordinary experience I wouldn't change for anything."

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There were moments of his tenure Osorio surely would change, chief among them a 7-0 loss to Chile in the Copa America Centenario quarterfinals. The team's exit from the Confederations Cup, while fresher in the mind, doesn't weigh as heavily on the mind of the Colombian coach.

"I think there have been a lot of games, some opportunities have been difficult as happens with any process, but crisis? Really, only one time because it's one thing to have lost against Chile in the Copa America with the best possible team on the field and another very different thing to have lost a semifinal against Germany in the Confederations Cup with two very painful absences for us - I'm talking about Diego Reyes and Carlos Salcedo," Osorio said of the two defenders who missed the close of the tournament with injuries.

Osorio's Mexico can close out the final stage of World Cup qualification undefeated with results Friday against Trinidad and Tobago and next week against Honduras.