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Benjamín Mora arrives as Atlas coach

The Mexican lacks experience in Liga MX, but he had a successful stint in the Malaysian League, where he won nine titles.

Benjamín Mora arrives as Atlas coach
Cortesía: Benjamín Mora

A risky bet is the one that Atlas has decided to make. After the departure of Diego Cocca, who broke the 70-year drought with a two-time championship, the board presented Benjamín Mora as its new coach on Thursday. In Mexico, he only has experience as an assistant but in the last seven years of his career he had success in Malaysia with Johor Darul Ta’zim, with whom he won nine titles: four leagues, four super cups and one cup.

Mora takes over Atlas after Malaysian adventure

Criticism has been immediate, as has skepticism from fans.

“As you well know, in the group we have been faced with this situation several times. We have been monitoring Benjamin’s work for a long time,“ explained club president José Riestra.

“We have seen its growth and development, first from a distance and in recent days analyzing all situations. We concluded that he is the ideal person today to lead this process, not only because of his football knowledge, but because we share the same goal. We share a very clear idea which is to win by serving. It comes from having been very successful in Malaysia. Today we still have to be the current champion and want to go much further.

“He passed a series of interviews, he asked to add an assistant from the institution,” Riestra continued. “Omar Flores will be part of his coaching staff to give growth to young people. What better than sharing an idea that when someone has a dream, they can carry it out. Benjamin is a clear example and that is why we made the decision.

“Of course it is a risky decision, but I think that in football there is no decision that guarantees you anything. What does guarantee you is the work, it is the process, it is the infrastructure and, as a consequence, the results come. This is what the group has shown over 16 years, this is how Benjamin has shown it in his last years in Malaysia. We are convinced that if we all work hand in hand, the results will come.

Mora has Champions League credibility

Benjamin Mora, for his part, was aware of the doubts about his appointment and hoped to improve opinions about him.

“The truth is that we had good moments, but it is normal, it seems natural to me that being so far away, neither the level of the league, nor the level of the players who participate, and probably not the level of the coaches who participate, are known for sure. However, when you mention these big names from the Asian giants, who we’ve faced in 30 Asian Champions League games, it builds a little bit of credibility into what may have been achieved there.

“However, I want to leave that behind. Coaches are as good as our last game and that is the reality. The past provides a value, frames it, but it serves no other purpose. The present is the most important thing and today, beyond explaining my value in Malaysia, I prefer to focus on the present, with the tools that I have here, with the challenges that I have here, respecting the Mexican League and trying my best. Afterwards, the opinions that may be held are respected, everyone will make their own view known. The most important thing today is Atlas and what we will do for Atlas.

“I don’t want to comment on what people may think. You have every right to give your opinion about me professionally, because I wasn’t here, I haven’t done anything in Mexico in the First Division. Although it is true, I have a career as an assistant here, then I went very far away. I think it’s normal for them to have those opinions. They will change, or not, with the passage of time, only time will tell. Hindsight is the best ally to give you the answer to everything. We are convinced of what we are as professionals, although I am young in some ways, I already have experience in football as a coach.

Diego Cocca, former Atlas manager.
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Diego Cocca, former Atlas manager.Francisco GuascoEFE

“I will try to put all my abilities together with those of the coaching staff and with those of the club so that there are constantly better opinions, so that there are more positive opinions, which there will surely be at this time as well.

“It’s part of football and it’s part of life, working is the only thing that will change someone’s opinion. Work and results, which is what I come to try to give, results in every way: in development, in execution and obviously in winning. That is what would perhaps change the feeling.

And Mora knows that it will not be easy to fill the void left by Diego Cocca, but he has confidence in his work.

“Obviously, I find myself in a very compromising position. That is to say, today, although it is true after 70 years of a drought for a trophy, it was commendably achieved with a great job by Diego and the group, I don’t know what is more difficult: to endure 70 years or to endure now that positive pressure to keep winning.

“So no matter which side we turn to, we say everywhere there is pressure in this role. Everywhere there is a responsibility to keep progressing and keep winning.”