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Guadalajara

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Mexico
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Liga MX
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La Volpe slowly wielding his influence on Chivas

GUADALAJARA -- New manager Ricardo La Volpe has hit the positive notes that Chivas fans have wanted to hear so far in his short reign as coach of Guadalajara.

The Argentine made his name in Mexico primarily through his work in molding a young, exciting team across town at Atlas and he is confident that he has the raw materials to do the same at Chivas.

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La Volpe named Carlos Fierro, David Ramirez, Giovani Hernandez, Carlos Cisneros and Eduardo Lopez as five young players that could "change the course of Guadalajara," which has struggled in recent seasons.

"They have innate things that not La Volpe nor any other coach in the world can give them," stated the 62-year-old, who added that the "blows" the players and club have taken mean he found the youngsters "fearful" when he arrived at Chivas.

La Volpe has been busy on the training field trying to iron out those stresses and ingrain his fluid, attacking passing style into the players. Most importantly, he believes that the youngsters are capable of adapting and succeeding under his command.

"I'm not asking for something that they haven't got," said La Volpe. "They have something that one doesn't find every day, like when I saw Sinha in Toluca."

For a team reliant on its youth system, they were lavish words from the new coach, who added that others should "be careful of Guadalajara" if those youngsters can hit form and make the playoffs.

"I can affirm one thing: This team will give everything on the pitch, it will kill itself in search of those nine points, because we want to get in the playoffs and once inside, a new tournament begins," stated the Argentine.

La Volpe tempered his gushing praise with the acknowledgement that his team has to improve against Morelia on Sunday in the Estadio Omnilife in comparison to Guadalajara's 3-1 away victory against Pachuca last Sunday.

"At the moment we can't makes big changes when there was an established idea (of how to play)," said La Volpe. "The modifications come gradually. The task (right now) is to convince the player where we are good and continue and where we aren't and correct it."

The Thursday press conference marked a very different tone from that of former coach Jose Luis Real and La Volpe genuinely seems enthused by the task at hand, with Chivas now almost an underdog in many people's eyes when it comes to talking championships.

La Volpe and his Chivas side are up against it on Sunday, partly due to the lack of time the new coach has had with his team -- despite the mammoth training sessions -- but mainly due to the wrath of injury problems at present in Guadalajara.

The news that center back Jair Pereira is out for three weeks was a major setback for the defense, but Fierro and Hernandez also pulled up in training and are doubts for Sunday, with the latter the most likely to make the game.

The injury list continues with Jesus Sanchez, Jorge Enriquez, Rafa Marquez Lugo, Abraham Coronado, Victor Perales and Antonio Gallardo all still in recovery.

The one bright spot is that Omar Bravo will return on Sunday and he assumes an ever more important role, having been a starter at World Cup 2006 with Mexico under La Volpe. But whether a second straight win will come for Chivas' new boss remains to be seen.