Mexico fans want Tata Martino fired but looming World Cup makes coaching change tricky.
The chants, directed at Mexico manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino, were nothing new. They’ve recently become a staple for El Tri‘s home games — which practically speaking includes games in the United States — from droves of Mexican fans who have become frustrated with the national team’s run of form. But the fact that this chant permeated so far into an away game by traveling supporters in a 1-1 draw that Mexico was close to winning, literally speaks volumes.
On paper, this fan discontent might be confusing for outsiders.
When looking at El Tri‘s start to the 2022-23 Nations League, it’s an encouraging one with a 3-0 victory at home over Suriname and the 1-1 away draw with Jamaica. Mexico remains the heavy, heavy favorites to win their two remaining games in March 2023 and would only need a draw in each one to qualify for next summer’s CONCACAF Nations League finals.
Once again though, this is all on paper. On deeper inspection, Mexico’s many narrow draws and wins have been incredibly frustrating for fans to watch this year.
Whether Martino has turned to his usual starters in qualifiers, alternates, and backups in the Nations League or a mix of the two in friendlies, the script has been the same: a lack of creativity in the final third, an ineffective midfield, poor finishing, and countless questionable individual performances.
Perhaps rattled by three losses and a draw to close out last year, which included defeats to the U.S. and Canada in World Cup qualifying, Martino has turned to a strategy in 2022 that appears much more timid and cautious. Once defined by a more attack-minded and risk-taking approach when he stepped in as manager in 2019, the Argentine coach’s approach became more practical and patient over the last several months.
What followed are eight matches in Mexico’s last 12 in which they’ve only scored one goal or fewer. After the 1-1 draw Tuesday night, midfielder Luis Romo told TUDN that they “got stuck” in the second half and that “we know that we are not at our best” in recent games.