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 By Tom Marshall

Dos Santos brothers' Mexico omission not punishment, says Tuca Ferretti

SANDY, Utah -- The omission of brother Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos from the Mexico squad had nothing to do with punishment or retribution, interim coach Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti said on Thursday.

The Dos Santos brothers sent out tweets in support of former coach Miguel Herrera after he swung at a TV commentator the day after winning the Gold Cup this summer, leading to speculation that the players -- previously regulars for El Tri -- were being punished for their views.

"There is no disciplinary reason," said Ferretti in his news conference ahead of Mexico's friendly against Trinidad and Tobago on Friday. "I have the right to choose the group and you [the media] have the right to criticise it.

"Maybe in the future I'll decide to change the list and the criticism will continue."

When the Brazilian named his squad to face Trinidad and Tobago and Argentina, the names of Giovani and Jonathan -- as well as goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa -- stood out because of their absence, but Ferretti wouldn't expand on his reasoning.

He wouldn't rule out a return for the players in the crucial Confederations Cup playoff against the United States on Oct. 10, but did say that 90 percent of that squad will be made up of the players called up or currently with Mexico's squad.

Giovani dos Santos in particular has excelled since joining the LA Galaxy this summer, scoring three goals and adding six assists in his first six games.

Seeing dynamic playmaker Giovani dos Santos stuck on the bench for the near entirety of the match left Mexico fans puzzled.
Giovani dos Santos has found himself on the outside looking in after Tuca Ferretti took over the Mexico squad.

Galaxy coach Bruce Arena suggested Giovani dos Santos' ommission was a curious decision, telling reporters: "Yeah, I have thoughts about it but it's certainly not my business. I would just think that they have a pretty good team if [Dos Santos] wasn't called up."

Ferretti said all his current squad players will get minutes in one of the friendlies, so he can make some firm conclusions about the squad to face the U.S. next month.

It hasn't been an easy first week in charge for Ferretti, with Oribe Peralta and Luis Montes dropping out with injuries, Miguel Layun turning up on Wednesday after signing on loan for Porto on Monday and Jesus "Tecatito" Corona not showing up at all because of immigration problems in Portugal, following his own move to Porto.

Ferretti said while the situations are understandable this time around and he gave the players permission, the squad must turn up on time ahead of the U.S. game.

"For the game against the United States, we'll have the whole week [to prepare], so I don't expect the same and I don't think it will happen," explained Ferretti.

Following medical tests, Francisco "Maza" Rodriguez will leave the Mexico squad and return to club side Cruz Azul. He may need surgery on his right knee, according to a statement by the Mexican federation.

New Bayer Leverkusen signing Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez arrived at the team hotel just before lunch on Thursday and won't play against Trinidad and Tobago after playing a friendly on Wednesday for Leverkusen.

"Naturally, if he arrives today, he won't be ready to play tomorrow," Ferretti said. "I can't get something out of the player that isn't there. He played yesterday and it would be a risk."

Hernandez suffered an ankle knock during his opening match against Paderborn, according to Bild, but Hernandez told ESPN Deportes that it was "just a bruise."

Ferretti was named interim coach on Aug. 20 and will be in charge for four matches, with the Mexican federation in the process of looking for a permanent head coach for World Cup qualifying.

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