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 By Tom Marshall

Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio defends Giovani Dos Santos

Giovani Dos Santos during Mexico's World Cup qualifying win against Trinidad & Tobago.
Giovani Dos Santos was substituted during Mexico's win against Trinidad and Tobago.

SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico -- Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio is certain Giovani Dos Santos has an important role to play with El Tri after some recent criticism about the LA Galaxy player's form.

Dos Santos started in Friday's 3-1 comeback victory over Trinidad and Tobago but came off after the hour mark following a quiet performance.

"We understand that the game is about opinions, but you have to remember that Giovani dos Santos is still considered a young player and he has over 100 games with the national team," Osorio said when asked about the 28-year-old by ESPN FC in Tuesday's postgame news conference.

Osorio said Dos Santos' experience has to be taken into consideration, adding that the former Barcelona player is changing how he trains and adapting his private life in order to reach peak form.

Osorio did, however, admit that he hopes there is more to come from Dos Santos.

"Today he competed at high intensity for a much longer period than in previous games," Osorio said. "Now we hope get him back in the footballing sense so he can demonstrate his talent."

Dos Santos played in a midfield role for El Tri, alternating with Andres Guardado between the left and right side of pivot Hector Herrera, before making way for future LAFC forward Carlos Vela.

It was part of Osorio's experiment to play with two left-footed players in the more attacking midfield roles of the 4-3-3, and the manager hinted he would be trying it again, possibly with Erick Gutierrez and Vela in those positions.

Mexico finishes the penultimate round of matches in the CONCACAF Hexagonal stage of qualification still undefeated and in first position.

El Tri will travel to Honduras looking to break the points record in their final qualifier on Tuesday.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.


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