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Mexico have ‘new opportunity’ in friendly vs. Chile – Ricardo Ferretti

Herculez Gomez examines the state of the Mexican national team, which is experimenting with a new generation while also searching for a head coach.

QUERETARO, Mexico — Mexico’s interim manager, Ricardo Ferretti, does not want his players to play with fear on Tuesday when they host Chile in a friendly in the teams’ first meeting since a 7-0 defeat in the Copa America Centenario two years ago.

Ferretti said the game will not serve as revenge or as anything more than a friendly because the two sides enter under different circumstances than in 2016.

“The last game was not at all pleasant — it was a final score that stays with you,” Ferretti said at a news conference on Monday. “They have absences and so do we, but this is a new process. Tomorrow we’ll have players they’ve seen more often and we can play on their level, but we can’t make the same mistakes as before. Every game is different and I hope tomorrow is different.”

Ferretti, the Tigres UANL manager, said he has not heard his players discuss the previous defeat, which came in the quarterfinals of the celebratory competition.

Instead, they have focused on the upcoming game, in which Ferretti said the team must play positively and responsibly in order to win.

“I’m confident they can translate that onto the pitch,” Ferretti said. “We made mistakes [in the 3-2 win against Costa Rica on Thursday] and I hope we’re organized because we know how important our rival is, but we need to play without the specter of the last result.

“I want them to show their quality on the pitch and do the adequate things to get a good result. It’s a new opportunity, a new national team, and we need to be conscious of this.”

Adamant that the 7-0 result was an anomaly, Ferretti stressed Mexico would make the best of its chance against Chile.

“We’ll look to do things a lot better to deserve a win,” he said. “Everyone talks about not losing. I’m thinking about winning — as are the players.”

Ferretti is also aware that the game, at the Estadio Corregidora, could be a good opportunity to scout younger players who might serve Mexico’s generational shift toward the 2022 World Cup.

“We’re interested in taking advantage of this game, and if there’s a chance to see these players in the future, that’s great,” Ferretti said. “I await a different game and [know] that we’ll play them with respect, but not fear of what happened in the past.”

Although Mexico was knocked out of the World Cup in the round of 16 in July, Chile did not even qualify — but Ferretti believes they are strong nonetheless.

“I don’t see them hurting,” Ferretti said. “They’re pretty healthy, and if I had to say something about the Chilean team, I’ll tell my players so they can take advantage of it.

“To me, the [Chile] players have great capacities and a lot of them play in Europe. Unfortunately they weren’t in the World Cup, but it’s a very good team and it will be a tough game.”

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