In Osorio’s place, Paez pleased with Mexico win
With head coach Juan Carlos Osorio suspended, Luis Pompilio Paez (pictured) guided Mexico to a win over El Salvador in the CONCACAF Gold Cup on July 9, 2017, in San Diego, California. (Photo: AFP)

SAN DIEGO, California – After a 3-1 triumph over El Salvador in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday night, Luis Pompilio Paez was asked about winning his first competitive match as Mexico manager.  The 57-year-old Colombian, filling in for the suspended Juan Carlos Osorio, didn’t directly give an answer.

Instead, he opted to talk about the challenges of standing on the sidelines during Mexico’s Gold Cup matches.  According to Paez, keeping his young roster humble and disciplined will be a priority.

“We have to make sure that our players can stay focused when it comes to a football level,” said Pompilio during a news conference after Mexico beat El Salvador, 3-1, in Group C on Sunday night at Qualcomm Stadium.  “They have to be able to keep the same mentality after we score, so that the opponent doesn’t take advantage of a lapse and begin to attack and score.”

That is what El Salvador did after Mexico took an early 1-0 lead in the eighth minute through Hedgardo Marin.  Nelson Bonilla leveled for the Cuscatlecos two minutes later, but the Mexicans answered on strikes by Elias Hernandez (29’) and Orbelin Pineda (55’).

Paez, who trained Mexico’s Gold Cup squad while Osorio was in Russia with the FIFA Confederations Cup side, was pleased with the final result and believed the usual manager felt the same way.

“I am sure he (Osorio) is happy because he’s the head coach and he keeps working and preparing the team during the week,” finished Paez.  “I’ve known him for a long time and we speak the same language.  We speak the same football during the last 40 years we’ve known each other.  I know how he thinks and how he acts.  I am glad the things have resulted in a win.”