We Can’t Be Complacent.- Nahuel

SAN NICOLÁS DE LOS GARZA, March 19th.- The UANL Tigres squad can’t afford to downshift in the tournament, just because they are one step away from assuring their qualification to the Playoffs, affirmed goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán.

The renowned Patón, champion with Tigres in 2015, 2016 and 2017, feels that the team is doing well right now, the same as in the Clausura 2017 tournament, when they lifted the trophy as champions in the final against Monterrey.

“We’re doing well right now, I’m not sure if the team is at 100% – I hope not. I know that there are always some details that need to be corrected, but practically having qualified at this point in the tournament hasn’t happened since the year when we finished in second place, at the end of 2017, which is reassuring, although we can’t afford to be complacent.

“We’re aware of how important it is to finish in a good position for the Playoffs format, so we need to give our all to make sure we qualify in the best possible place.”

Regarding the defense’s good performance…

“Every time I speak in favor of something, that positive streak seems to come to an end, so I’ll try to be cautious. I think this is something we’ve talked about a lot in each conference or chats with your colleagues. Last year, the defense, the offense and possession performed somewhat irregularly.

“Now I think that match after match we’ve been looking for consistency, but not based on four or five defenders. As a team, we’ve improved. Perhaps the collaboration of the midfielders in the defense has helped and strengthened us, our focus every day on set-pieces, aerial play and, well, working on details in our competition. Let’s see if we can keep this up throughout the championship. We’ve achieved a solidness that is good for all of us as a team.”

Days for resting and recovering…

“This week will be for resting, especially our minds. We know that we’re facing two months where, if everything works out as we expect and hope, we’ll be playing one match every three days, so now we’ll be enjoying time with our families, forgetting about football for a bit and then starting again. I don’t mean we’re going on holiday tomorrow, but we do have a weekend in which we can stop concentrating on football, except for our international players, of course.

“Players with injuries will be able to recover and we can all get ready to be on top form to face the last stretch of the tournament, as well as the elimination rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League. After the break, we’ll be working on some details, preparing for these eight consecutive games, involving long trips, a great deal of concentration in the hotel, and then think about the match against América.”

We mustn’t be overconfident…

“We mustn’t be overconfident, since each game deserves to be taken seriously and, of course, keeping in mind that we need just one more point to secure a spot in the Playoffs and think about fighting for the leadership, that’s our objective. Coming face to face with the final if we qualify in time will be a match-by-match effort.”

About Gerardo Martino, the Mexico National Team manager…

“There’s not much I can say about Tata. I imagine all the coaching staff has high hopes, intending to work hard and grow as time goes by. It’s a process that’s just getting started, with some players who worked in prior processes.

“I wish him all the best, every success. I hope they can capitalize on everything he has to offer the National Team, just as he did in Atlanta a few months ago and in Argentina, Newell’s.”

The Tri’s (Mexico National Team) identity: What is Tata Martino’s priority?

“I can talk about my own experience, not about right now, since I’m not a fortune teller. When he arrived at Newell’s, he told us that he’d try to adapt to the players he had and to the group’s potential, so perhaps one of the perspectives I might have is that, as a National Team manager, he will obviously choose his players and, based on those characteristics, try to exploit the potential of each player and then merge them together as a team.

“I think it’s the most difficult job of all, getting each and every one of the players you like to work together as a team. The coaches have the task of using their intelligence and capacity to get the players to give their all. One of his qualities is that he knows how to interpret what each individual can give, proving his intelligence and ability to read the game, and, therefore, get every player to fulfill their potential.”

Does he have a style of play?

“At times he can be flexible, but I think that as time goes by he’ll gradually generate his identity. He’s a coach who likes possession, who is aware that Mexican football employs that strategy – endeavoring to play with ball possession.

“So, their job is to provide the players from each call-up with the necessary tools so they can ultimately use them on the pitch, but perhaps some of the qualities or characteristics could be ball possession, playing at times with three forwards, a nine and two wingers, a holding midfielder and center backs. Let’s see what happens in these matches, and I wish all the members of the National Team and Tata’s coaching staff every success.”