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What went wrong at Puente del Río’s Pumas in the Clausura 2023?

According to reports in Mexico, Pumas’ poor results under Rafael Puente del Río were - at least in part - down to the coach’s poor relationship with his players.

According to reports in Mexico, Pumas’ poor results under Rafael Puente del Río were - at least in part - down to his poor relationship with his players.

Rafael Puente del Río’s Pumas project is at an end. After Sunday’s defeat to Pachuca left the seven-time Mexican champions down in 16th in the Clausura 2023 regular-season table, the 44-year was fired by the Liga MX club.

Since Puente del Río’s sacking, details have begun to emerge in the Mexican media about the reasons why Pumas failed under his leadership.

Pumas boss didn’t see eye to eye with players

Per TUDN’s Rodrigo Celorio, the coach did not have a good rapport with some of Pumas’ dressing-room leaders. He had differences with players such as Jesús Molina, who is said to have been unhappy with the brand of soccer Puente del Río sought to implement at the Estadio Olímpico Universitario.

Amid poor relations with major squad members, Puente del Río’s Pumas endured a dreadful run of form in the Clausura 2023. After winning just one of their nine Liga MX games prior to the weekend defeat to Pachuca, Los Universitarios’ boss had been given an ultimatum by the club’s board: beat Los Tuzos or you’re out.

Ramírez Perales to be Pumas caretaker

Following Puente del Río’s departure, Juan de Dios Ramírez Perales is set to step up from the youth academy to take interim charge of the first team.

And Puente del Río may not be the only major figure to leave Pumas, who are poised to miss out on the postseason for a second straight tournament. According to widespread reports, club president Leopoldo Silva and vice-president Miguel Mejía Barón both intend to step down from their roles.

See also:

What is Pumas’ next game in the Clausura 2023?

Pumas, who are a point outside the qualification places for the preliminary round of the playoffs, visit Querétaro in their next Clausura 2023 match, in a clash that is scheduled for Sunday 2 April at 7:05pm local time (9:05pm ET).

Although Pumas remain in contention to claim a place in the postseason prelims, their hopes of direct qualification for the playoffs proper are all but over. They are 11 points adrift of the top four, with only 15 points still in play.