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Tata Martino on why he skipped training to watch Argentina

The Mexico coach explained the reason why he did not attend the team’s last training session.

Tata Martino on why he skipped training to watch Argentina
Mauricio Torres

After drawing and losing their previous two outings, Mexico returned to winning ways on Saturday, beating Peru by the minimum in the first of two MexTour 2022 sendoff friendlies to be played in the United States. Prior to the game against the Incas, there had been a certain amount of controversy after coach Gerardo Martino was absent from the team’s final training session. Instead of overseeing the session, he was several thousand kilometres away in Florida watching the friendly between Argentina and Honduras.

In the post-match press conference, Tata explained why he didn’t show up for training. “Four or five weeks ago, they asked me if there was the possibility of doing open training for people and I automatically said yes. We are usually involved in preparing for the next game, so what we did was prepare a whole week of work,” the Argentine coach told reporters.

“The preparation for the match ended 48 hours ago, and since I had nothing more to do with the players, it seemed better for me to use that spare time to watch Argentina. One thing is very clear to me - the fans don’t come to see me. When we get off the bus, if I get off first, one of them might ask me to sign their shirt, but once the players start getting off they lose all interest in me. It’s perfectly normal, because the footballers are the ones who play, not the coach, so there wasn’t much point. I did not think that this would have caused so much debate; sometimes I think that even breathing becomes a reason for debate, but anyway...“

Some fans turned up at the training ground to watch the session, and get autographs and pictures taken with the players. In spite of all the criticism, Mexico managed to overcome Peru with Hirving Lozano grabbing a late winner. On Tuesday, El Tri are back in action, taking on Colombia in what will be the team’s last game of the MexTour 2022 sendoff.

Mexico have two warm-up games lined up ahead of the World Cup. Martino’s team will face Iraq at the Montilivi in Girona, Spain on 9 November, then Sweden at the same venue on 16 November. Mexico make their Qatar World Cup debut against Poland on 22 November later before meeting Lionel Messi’s Argentina four days later. They bring the group stage to a close against Saudi Arabia on 30 November.


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