Temporary Mexican national team head coach Miguel Herrera sounded glad he was in charge of El Tri in New Zealand and not closer to home after Mexico reserved their place in the 2014 World Cup with a 4-2 win on Wednesday over the All Whites.
The Club América boss – who rejoins his club and now has no official ties to the national team – admitted that the playoff against New Zealand was a world away from the tough CONCACAF battles that former coaches José Manuel “Chepo” de la Torre and Víctor Manuel Vucetich encountered in their stints as coach in World Cup qualifying.
“They are different games going to Honduras, Costa Rica, the United States, they are strong teams and difficult strongholds,” Herrera said in the postgame press conference in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “Here [in New Zealand] the people applauded us off – I can imagine what would’ve happened achieving this in Honduras.”
Herrera declared it was “mission accomplished” for his brief stint with El Tri, but refused to be drawn on whether he will be taking the job on a full-time basis for Brazil 2014, indicating that his goal is now to lead Las Águilas to the Liga MX Apertura title.
If a deal is struck between Herrera and the Mexican federation in a meeting of Liga MX club owners on Dec. 2, the outgoing coach will be aiming to take El Tri to dizzy new heights.
“If I thought about [reaching the quarterfinals], I wouldn’t go to the World Cup,” stated Herrera. “If I go to the World Cup it is to achieve the best, to reach the highest possible place, which is the championship.”
Tom Marshall covers Americans playing in Latin America for MLSsoccer.com. E-mail him at email@example.com.