Ex-England U21 star Ravel Morrison settling at Atlas and aiming for title
GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Former Manchester United youth Ravel Morrison is confident his Atlas side can go far this 2017 Apertura and is not ruling out a title charge.
Los Rojinegros have not won a Liga MX title since 1951 but earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Club Tijuana on Friday in Estadio Jalisco to move into the top eight, with four games remaining in the regular season.
Asked by ESPN FC after the match if the playoffs should be the aim as the regular season reaches its crescendo over the next few weeks, Morrison went a step further.
"Obviously [the goal is] to win it," he said.
The 24-year-old midfielder has gradually got to grips with life in Mexico after a shock loan move from Lazio just ahead of the summer transfer deadline, with Atlas coach Jose Guadalupe Cruz easing Morrison into the side since.
"I'm increasingly satisfied with him -- he's a player with a lot of quality," Cruz said after Friday's match. "It's evident he's struggled with the rhythm, but he's playing regularly, is under consideration and he's going to contribute."
Morrison struck a first-half free kick from 30 yards off the underside of the crossbar in the first half against Tijuana and has now started Atlas' last two Liga MX matches.
The English midfielder was given a warm reception from the Atlas faithful when he came off in the 79th minute and he suggested he is adapting well to the Mexican league.
"I'm getting used to it now," Morrison said. "It's picking up, it's been good."
Morrison described Mexican football as "very technical" and possession-orientated when asked last month.
The altitude and climate of many stadiums in Mexico can be difficult for foreign players to adapt to and Morrison said after his debut on Sept. 12 that it had been hard to breathe in the game in Toluca against Potros UAEM.
Atlas will next play a Guadalajara derby against Chivas in the Copa MX round of 16 on Wednesday.
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.