HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The numbers back him, and Mexican fans and the media had no other choice but trust him.
Eight victories – three in friendly games and five in official matches, including four World Cup qualifying games and Sunday's Copa America Centenario win over Uruguay – have demonstrated the great work that Colombian head coach Juan Carlos Osorio is doing with the Mexican national team.
And most importantly, the players support the philosophy he has brought to the squad.
"He is a great coach and he always prepare us in the best way to try to win games," said Pachuca striker Hirving Lozano in Tuesday’s press conference at Lowes Hotel in Hollywood.
One of the aspects that the players appreciate the most is the healthy competition for spots in the starting lineup, as the Colombia coach does not have a strict lineup for every game. Osorio has not repeated a starting 11 since taking the Mexico job.
For Benfica forward Raul Jimenez, this dynamic is well received by the players, as it allows them to push themselves to their maximum level.
“"For everyone, in every position, there is an intense fight at the training sessions,” said Jimenez.
“Up front you have players like Oribe [Peralta],Chicharo [Javier Hernández] and myself, all the 23 players want to have a spot. These are Osorio’s decisions, and whoever is better and fulfills his needs will take a spot in the starting lineup.”
In eight months working with the national team, Osorio has brought a Colombian discipline, with rhetoric about football psychology, rotations, players in their natural positions – a full bag of new elements that the Mexican players hadn’t experienced before.
“El Profe is very specific in the way he works with us. He gives us the elements, things we must pay attention to. He makes us work on our speed, the good runs,” said Jimenez.
“This dynamic makes us give 100 percent of ourselves because we don’t know who will play. One day he uses one lineup, and the next day he changes it completely. That forces us to be prepared when he decides to put us on the field.”
For the match against Jamaica, Mexico must cope with the absence of team captain Andres Guardado, who was sent off from the Uruguay match for a second yellow card.
Jimenez recognizes what Guardado represents to the team, but expects that his absence will not hurt their game.
“He means a lot to the team, he is the leader,” Jimenez said. “But there are players who are waiting for their chance and it is a good opportunity to be displayed. It will be a complicated game; all games against Jamaica are difficult. We must face it in a good way, knowing that we need to gain possession of the ball and attack as we did against Uruguay. “