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Liga MX

The Liga MX’s new coaches for the Clausura 2024

We look at the new faces who will appear on some of the benches in the next Mexican soccer tournament.

Ciudad de México
We look at the new faces who will appear on some of the benches in the next Mexican soccer tournament.
Dolores Ochoa

The countdown to start of the Clausura 2024 is underway and among the many changes that have taken place since the last tournament are the new coaches that will be occupying the benches at some of the Liga MX’s top clubs. Some of them will be gaining their first experience in Mexican Soccer, and burdened with the responsibility that comes with taking the reins of a team and delivering results as quickly as possible.

In total, there are six new coaches that we will see when the Clausura 2024 kicks off - three of them in charge at the so-called ‘big’ teams and under enormous pressure to deliver results. Coaches who now belong to institutions with enormous history in the competition, and who will be thrust into the spotlight with every action and decision scrutinized.

Let’s take a look at the coaches who recently arrived in the Liga MX:

Fernando Gago: Chivas

The first case and perhaps one of the most famous for what he achieved at the international player level, is that of Fernando Gago, a former midfielder who played for Real Madrid, Boca Juniors and Roma, among others. He also gained 61 caps and starred in two World Cups with Argentina. As a coach he is still relatively inexperienced, having started his managerial career in January 2021 at Aldosivi before taking over at Racing later that year. He has been on board at Chivas for little over two weeks, taking over from Veljko Paunovic. Gago will be expected to improve on last season’s performance when the team finished the regular season in fifth but were eliminated at the quarter final stage by Pumas.

Martín Anselmi: Cruz Azul

Another young Argentine strategist who has been lured to the Liga MX is Martín Anselmi. The 38-year-old has been handed his first experience in Mexico as head coach of Cruz Azul, after having won a clean sweep of four trophies with Ecuador’s Independiente del Valle (including a South American Cup).

He also spent time coaching Unión La Calera in Chile, but left after 11 games. He joins the Cementeros as a fundamental piece of a large-scale restructuring program. Cruz Azul had a disappointing Apertura 2023, ending in 16th without any chance of making it to the postseason. Getting the team to the Liguilla will be a prime objective this year.

Jorge Bava: León

Like those mentioned above, Uruguayan Jorge Bava is another relative newcomer on the scene, with high expectations placed on him after taking the reins at León. The team’s dismal exit from the Club World Cup in December signalled the end of the road for Nicolás Larcamón, and Bava, a former goalkeeper who spent a year on loan with Atlas in 2008, now returns to Mexican soccer as a coach. He made his coaching debut in his homeland with Montevideo-based Liverpool in June 2021 and won five trophies during his tenure, including the first division title last year.

León ended the Apertura 2023 regular phase in eighth position and beat Santos Laguna to secure a place in the quarter finals where they fell to the eventual winners, América.

Gustavo Lema: Pumas

Just when it seemed that Pumas were making good progress, Technical Director Antonio Mohamed abandoned the project to leave it in the hands of his assistant and trusted right-hand man for more than 20 years, Gustavo Lema. The Argentinean will have his first taste of leading a team as the head coach of Pumas for the Clausura 2024. It is expected to give the team continuity, starting from where they left off last season rather embarking on a new project from scratch.

Renato Paiva: Toluca

After Ignacio Ambriz quit the coaching post by mutual consent during the final stretch of the Apertura 2023, the Red Devils finally reached an agreement with Portuguese DT Renato Paiva who returns to Mexican soccer after having been at León little over a year ago. He takes charge of a team that works well as a united and that has performed well in recent tournaments. The European coach is expected to be the missing piece that bring it all together for a team that just missed out on the playoffs last year but who aspire to be among those fighting at the top end of the general table.

Beñat San José: Atlas

Last but not least, Beñat San José. The 44-year-old Spanish coach who managed Mazatlán a few years ago, is now in charge of Atlas. He inherits a squad that won back-to-back championships in 2021-22 and want to return to their place among the elite. Last season, Atlas occupied penultimate place in the standings - far from having any options of making the playoffs.

This time around they will be able to count on San José's extensive experience - he has worked in several countries such as Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Chile and Bolivia, guiding his team to the league title in both of the latter two countries (with Bolívar and Universidad Católica respectively) as well as delivering the King Cup of Champions during his stint in Saudi Arabia with Al-Ittihad.

Liga MX Clausura 2024 matchday 1 fixtures

12 January 2024

  • Querétaro vs Toluca 19:00 hours
  • Mazatlán vs Atlético San Luis 21:00 hours

13  January 2024

  • Cruz Azul vs Pachuca 19:00 hours
  • Chivas vs Santos Laguna 19:00 hours
  • Monterrey vs Puebla 21:00 hours
  • Xolos vs América 21:00 hours

14 January 2024

  • Pumas vs FC Juárez 12:00 hours
  • Necaxa vs Atlas 18:00 hours

17 January 2024

  • León vs Tigres 19:00 hours