Elias Hernandez - 'Lots to improve' for Mexico after Curacao win
ESPN - Monday 17th July, 2017
SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Mexico winger Elias Hernandez says El Tri must improve on its performance in Sunday's 2-0 Gold Cup victory over Curacao.
Hernandez has been one of Mexico's best players in the tournament and the Group C victory set up a quarterfinal against Honduras on Thursday in Phoenix.
El Tri gave up four shots on goal and goalkeeper Jesus Corona was named man-of-the-match in a game Mexico could have easily drawn.
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"There are many things to improve," Hernandez said after the game in Alamodome. "The team has to keep the ball longer, not give it away, which is what we did today and it made things complicated for us."
Mexico finished the group on seven points and, according to captain Erick Gutierrez, the pressure and demands to win the tournament from El Tri fans and the domestic press is nothing new.
"We know our responsibility, there is always pressure here," the 22-year-old said. "We always try to give everything on the field and the objective is to be champion; that's what we'll try to do."
Pachuca captain Gutierrez wore the Mexico armband for the first time in only his seventh cap with the national team and the midfielder said it was a special occasion.
"It's a day I'll never forget," he said. "I'm Pachuca captain, but I never thought I would be here because there are players with a lot of experience, but I took on the responsibility and I'm content."
Mexico's assistant coach Pompilio Paez -- standing in for the suspended Juan Carlos Osorio -- suggested the coaching staff have made their conclusions about which players they will use moving forward in the Gold Cup, after using 21 of the 23 players in the group stage.
"We now know who our most influential players are," Paez said in the postgame news conference, adding that Mexico will play with three forwards against Honduras.
He also said the result against Curacao was achieved "with a lot of defects, but also virtues."
Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.
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