Cocca holds first training session as manager of El Tri

New El Tri manager Diego Cocca gives instructions to his players during a training session in Mexico City on Monday. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
New El Tri manager Diego Cocca gives instructions to his players during a training session in Mexico City on Monday. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
El Tri Cocca first camp
Diego Cocca conducted a mini training camp for 15 El Tri players, his first opportunity to work directly with Team Mexico squad members. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /

New El Tri manager holds first training camp

A few select El Tri players got a first-hand look at new coach Diego Cocca who worked with national teamers for the first time since taking over early last month.

A few days after releasing an initial roster of 34 players that will comprise the El Tri squad for Nations League matches later this month, the new manager conducted a one-day training camp on Monday.

Fifteen players from that list got a crash course in Cocca’s tactics and they were joined by Juan Robles, a member of América’s under-20 team.

Robles attended simply to fill the right-fullback role that Kevin Álvarez, Jorge Sánchez and Julián Araujo – all unavailable for the training session – are expected to handle.

Participating in the work-out were goalies Carlos Acevedo (Santos Laguna) and José Antonio Rodríguez (Tijuana), as well as defenders Néstor Araujo (América), Jesús Gallardo (Monterrey), Jesús Orozco (Chivas), Israel Reyes (América) and Gilberto Sepúlveda (Chivas). Orozco, 21, was summoned to take the place of Héctor Moreno, the four-time World Cup stalwart who strained his left sigh a week ago against León.

The midfielders and forwards at the training camp were Roberto Alvarado (Chivas), Uriel Antuna (Cruz Azul), Fernando Beltrán (Chivas), Alfonso González (Monterrey), Carlos Rodríguez (Cruz Azul), Luis Romo (Monterrey), Henry Martín (América) and Marcel Ruiz (Toluca).

Ruiz was unable to participate fully because he arrived to the facilities late Sunday night right after playing for the Red Devils in Querétaro.

During the practices, Cocca emphasized defensive tactics, making it clear that his version of El Tri will be pressing opponents aggressively.

‘Pocho’ and ‘Chofis’ are not forgotten

Chivas captain Víctor Guzmán and Pachuca playmaker Eduardo López are among the Clausura 2023 stars who have every reason to feel slighted about not making the 34-man list.

“Pocho” has 5 goals and 2 assists for the third-place Chivas, while “Chofis” has a team-high 6 goals and 1 assist for the defending Liga MX champs.

Neither player made public complaints about being left off the initial Nations League squad list, but Guadalajara manager Veljko Paunovic made it clear he thinks overlooking Guzmán was a mistake.

On Monday, Cocca made it clear that Guzmán and López should remain motivated and continued productivity is certain to earn inclusion on future El Tri rosters. In contrast to the previous national team staff, the new Mexico management has frequented Liga MX stadiums to track and scout potential players.

One pundit mused that the two players were likely excluded because the new El Tri manager prefers to play without attacking midfielders, instead relying on a double-pivot in front of the back line and generating offense on the wings. That certainly fits with how Atlas won back-to-back Liga MX titles under Cocca.

Next. Liga MX at the midpoint of the Clausura 2023. dark

Additional El Tri-related notes

Espanyol and Team Mexico defender César Montes might be on the move this summer. Transfer rumors have Wolverhampton looking to bring the 26-year-old to the English Premier League. … Another popular rumor has Cocca’s El Tri predecessor, Gerardo Martino, taking the reins at Tigres, the team Cocca spurned to accept the national team job. Marco Antonio Ruiz is serving as interim manager for Tigres but it is though unlikely that he will be given the permanent job.