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SOCCER

Diego Cocca admits Mexico struggled to beat Suriname

Mexico’s coach felt his side improved as the match wore on, but were initially unable to impose their authority on the game.

Paramaribo, Surinam
Diego Cocca piensa en una Selección con buenas formas
David Leah

It wasn’t an easy night for Mexico in Paramaribo. El Tri suffered more than they had bargained for and for periods of the game they were on the back foot against Suriname. But in the end, they managed to grind out a result. After the 0-2 win over Suriname, in his debut as Mexico coach, Diego Cocca admitted that his team looked unsure of how to take the game forward but said he was pleased that they were eventually able to find a way to resolve Thursday’s CONCACAF Nations League match.

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“There are a lot of conclusions to be drawn that we can take advantage of. Games like tonight’s are very interesting games, when we are up against rivals who have pace. It means that our players need to make quick decisions. It was impressive to watch how Suriname moved the ball forward. It’s great to face opponents like this. I think we struggled, we didn’t understand how to control the game although we improved later on. We spoke about it at half-time and the players realized that they needed to change their approach. The second half turned out differently, they understood how to resolve the game. That’s what we’re learning together, trying to ensure we all have the same idea. Eventually they understood what they had to do, turned the game around, and we won. It’s always very important to start winning,” the coach explained afterwards.

“I am talking about what happens from this point on. What happened in the past, we all know about. What we have now is a group of players with good technique who make good decisions. Mexico’s players have to be at their highest level. After that, to be able to compete against players who are naturally much faster than ours, we need to have a very clear structure and tactical idea. To achieve that is going to take time, but as I said from the first day, I believe in Mexico’s players. With talent, tactics, intelligence, personality, mentality, I am sure that we can put together a very interesting national team,” Cocca added.

Diego Cocca admits Mexico struggled to beat Suriname

The coach would not confirm whether he will make changes to his team for Sunday’s game against Jamaica at the Azteca. “It depends on the rivals we are facing, and on other factors. The players only need to understand that there are many ways to resolve a game, there are many tools to do that and you have to work with all of them. When we have all these tools, we are going to be a very complete team and for that we need time. I think that for the short time we have been able to work with this team, we were to apply pressure tonight. Not letting them play, we stole two or three balls that could have ended in a goal. They made a great effort, at times they understood and at times they didn’t. In some things we might disagree but that’s normal; this is the path we need to take, to continue improving within the game. Tonight, I think it was very interesting. As the game progresses we have to be increasingly clear about what we are going to do,” he explained.

If I was happy with my team, I think I would be worried,” he added. “I think the key is to build from the bottom, to improve. As the game wore on we improved and that was more noticeable in the second half. We ended up managing the game, without suffering, and having possession of the ball. That was when we started taking control and from there, we knew how to resolve the match. For me, that is the ideal way - to know how to find the key to the game and win. Tonight, we beat a difficult rival, in a clash in which many conclusions can be drawn. The main thing is that when these two games are over, we can grow as a team”.