Gerardo “Tata” Martino spoke to the media in a jam-packed press-conference room at Chicago’s Soldier Field on Saturday night, ahead of Sunday’s 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final against the United States.
“I think this is a final that’s going to be very even,” said the Mexico Manager. “We’re sharing a stage tomorrow. I think both teams are going to meet their toughest challenges of the tournament in this final.”
Martino spoke of a great admiration and respect for U.S. Manager Gregg Berhalter, whom Martino coached against while at Atlanta United in MLS, Berhalter managing the Columbus Crew.
“I respect him both as a person and as a coach,” Martino said of his opponent. “He was one of the best managers I went up against in MLS. He needed time to implement his style. I think you’re starting to see it all develop for them.”
“I feel like both teams are in good hands,” Martino said of the U.S. and Mexico. “Tomorrow, we’re simply two coaches. We each have teams competing for a trophy. One of us is going to be happy and one of us is going to be sad.”
When asked about taking part for the first time in the historic rivalry between the two national teams, Martino was adamant about he and his team remaining focused on what got them to the final in the first place.
“It’s a wonderful thing for our team to have followed our strategy and made it to the final,” said Martino. “We have to stay true to that, no matter what other circumstances surround this game. That goes for the rivalry or anything. We have to be true to our strategy tomorrow. That’s the most important thing.”
The 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Final begins at 9 PM ET on Sunday.