Mon, Sep 09, 2013 - Page 19 News List

‘Chepo’ receives the chop, Mexico name Tena coach

Reuters, MEXICO CITY

Mexico sacked Jose Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre on Saturday and replaced him with Luis Fernando Tena who coached the national team to the London Olympics title last year.

De la Torre was dismissed after Friday’s 2-1 home defeat by Honduras dented Mexico’s 2014 World Cup qualifying hopes.

“Results have not been good,” Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean told a news conference. “We are in an extremely complex situation. I took the decision yesterday, after consulting with my colleagues, to make a change.”

Mexico’s second-ever World Cup qualifying defeat in the Azteca Stadium left them fourth in the CONCACAF standings, outside the automatic qualification slots.

El Tri meet old rivals the US in Columbus, Ohio, tomorrow and then have a home game against Panama in October before travelling to CONCACAF leaders Costa Rica.

The fourth-placed team face a two-legged World Cup playoff against New Zealand in November.

Mexico’s only other qualifying defeat at the Azteca Stadium came in 2001 against Costa Rica.

De la Torre has been under fire since Mexico lost two of their three games and made an early exit from the Confederations Cup in June.

The squad then failed to retain their Gold Cup title in the US in July, but it was the risk of missing out on the World Cup finals for the first time since 1990 that prompted Compean to act.

Mexico were banned from the 1990 edition after using over-age players in the World Youth Championship. The last time they failed to make it through the CONCACAF qualifying process was in 1982.

The team’s poor recent run of form, despite having one of their most talented squads, has frustrated fans and they have frequently called for De la Torre’s head.

“This represents a huge responsibility,” Tena said. “We do not like to come in like this because the standings tell us the situation is very difficult.”

“In just a few days there is an important match we have to face. We have to prepare ourselves mentally and adapt,” he said.

“The team will maintain the same players and the same fundamentals. In three days we cannot carry out big changes,” Tena said.

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