MEXICO CITY -- Mexico head coach Miguel Herrera turned off the El Tri sirens again. No guaranteed shipwreck before sailing, just as death never comes the day before.
Herrera, "El Piojo", turns off the alarms of those who have seen little work time, those who see a multitude of European figures in Cameroon and Brazil, and obviously and geographically, in Croatia, and of those who get the chills from an environment crowded with voices, ads, promises, predictions, as well as precipitated and anticipated revelry. And in order to do so, he demystifies the complexity of his work. In the end, as he once defined it himself: it's about simplifying the exercise of playing soccer in order to make the annulment of the work by the opponent complicated.
He had already delivered a clear message: "No one stops running here, no one stops fighting here, no one stops defending here and no one stops attacking here."
He doesn't want any idle legs because they generally lead to relaxation, to a lack of concentration and to distractions.
And he explained it once while managing Club America: His constant screams are because the player in the frenzy, in the gale of the game, can forget to do what he knows and what he should do, or he just has to make changes on the fly. A moment of distraction, he commented, and then the chess game on the field has changed for the player. The pieces are in another place and so is the ball. And from the confusion of one arises the confusion of others.
And with that desire to demystify the laborious process of preparing El Tri, this Monday he again simplified functions.
1. He wants to make it clear: he needs speed and endurance in order for the team to be dynamic. 2. He needs intelligence, so that the player can read what's happening on the field. To be able to decipher in advance his peers and rivals.
3. He needs commitment and conviction, or in the neatness of his Tepiteno French, he made it made clear after going down 2-0 against the United States: "On a national team you only play with your [guts], and I mean with a lot of [guts], there's no other way".
4. Herrera rarely strips a player. That day of the game against the U.S., he did. Jesus Zavala was the player who had to confront U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley. In the synopsis of the speech that day, El Piojo noted that Bradley seemed to be an elite footballer, but only due to the lack of "[guts] to defend against him, to do what needed to be done". In the second half Zavala did not return to the field and Bradley went from superlative to regular, when he was granted no space or time on the ball.
I insist on the term demystify, because Herrera is the first to strip away those veils of mystery, those airs, that paraphernalia that behind every coach there is supposedly a supernatural or paranormal sage who transforms the simplicity of a game into a treatise on quantum physics.
Herrera himself has explained that practice brings the team nearer to perfection in order to function as such, with the risks implied by the chosen game plan.
So that is why, once again, he turns off El Tri's sirens. It is not just about capitalizing on the limited time they have, or whether there are just four rivals ahead in preparation games, because he knows that the national team will arrive well-prepared for the World Cup, physically and tactically, and that ultimately, the greatest answer is summarized in that speech that can provoke many likable synonyms, such as, will, devotion, commitment, testosterone, masculinity, but ultimately comes down to his favorite locker room expression: "[guts], a lot of [guts]".