Mexico not sitting on laurels as World Cup slot beckons
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - Mexico coach Miguel Herrera has kept faith with the team that hammered New Zealand in the first leg of their 2014 World Cup qualifier last week for the second match at Wellington Regional Stadium on Wednesday.
El Tri beat the All Whites 5-1 at the Azteca last week and the home side have to win the return leg by at least 4-0 to qualify for their second successive finals.
Herrera, who selected only locally-based players for the intercontinental playoff, told reporters in Wellington he would stick with the same team but was not prepared to allow his side to sit back and defend.
"We want to win the game, not just qualify for the World Cup," Herrera said through an interpreter on Tuesday. "We know that New Zealand need to come and attack us but we will play exactly the same way we did in Mexico.
"We want to win this game."
Herrera, who was appointed to the role after the Mexican Federation changed three coaches in just six weeks as the CONCACAF heavyweights lurched through qualifying, said he was keen to stay in the role should they advance to the Brazil finals on Wednesday.
"You can ask the guys in the back who are the Mexico federation," he said while laughing before adding "of course I want it," when pressed on whether he personally wanted to stay on.
Herrera acknowledged that Mexican fans may have decided they had already qualified for the finals courtesy of their hefty goal advantage, though he and the team were having none of it.
"I was not very happy with the goal we conceded," he said of Chris James' late consolation goal for the All Whites.
"We have been watching videos of the team and hopefully we don't concede any more goals.
"We have 90 minutes to play, tomorrow we need to win and then Mexico will be happy."
New Zealand fans in contrast have all but written off their side's hopes though All Whites coach Ricki Herbert was keen to put the visitors under pressure they had yet to experience in Herrera's stewardship.
"They have had four coaches," Herbert said with a smile in relation to Herrera becoming the fourth head coach of the side within six weeks.
"They have had a lot of personnel changes too.
"They played against Finland in a non-challenging environment (in a friendly) ... and then came up against a New Zealand side that never threatened them.
"It's important for us to change that challenge ...and put pressure back on the Mexican side to see how good they are."
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)