Mexico coach hopes Brazil feel World Cup pressure

by Guillermo Barros, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Mar 27 2014 03:15 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2014 11:15 PM

MEXICO CITY - Mexico manager Miguel Herrera voiced hope Wednesday that Brazil will falter under home pressure during his side's World Cup clash with the heavyweights, adding that the hosts' star player Neymar lacks leadership experience.

In an interview with AFP, Herrera said five-times champions Brazil are the clear favorites to win Group A and that Barcelona forward Neymar is growing into a prominent role.

But the outspoken coach said the 22-year-old could feel the weight of comparisons with Argentina playmaker Lionel Messi, his club team-mate, and that he still lacks experience as Brazil's leader.

"He is very young and he's in the process of getting the chance of being Brazil's number one player", Herrera, 46, said at the Mexican football federation's training grounds.

"The pressure will be on Neymar because everybody is thinking that he could be Brazil's main figure during the World Cup," he said. "You can't compare Neymar with Messi at the moment. I still see Messi way above."

Herrera wants Mexico to take three points against Cameroon in their first match on June 13 and that they can pull an upset in the second game against Brazil by seizing on the pressure the home side could face in front of their fans.

"Where we can find a weak point is by taking the ball away from them a little bit, make time go by without letting them hurt us, and then people will become frustrated and demand more from them," he said.

"The pressure could get to them."

Mexico's final group match will be against Croatia.

Herrera took over Mexico late last year, becoming the fourth manager in six weeks after a disastrous qualifying campaign in which they needed to win a play-off against New Zealand to book their ticket to the World Cup.

Herrera, who managed domestic club America to the championship last year, said Mexico could benefit from being seen as outsiders after last year's poor results.

"It benefits us because we are no longer seen as a very solid team and maybe some will underestimate us, and this can help us demonstrate that we are alright and that we can surprise anybody," he said.

After taking the reins, Herrera only fielded domestic league players for the two games against New Zealand, a formula that proved successful.

But he said playmaker Giovani dos Santos, who plays for Spain's Villarreal, and Manchester United forward Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez have a place in his roster but that they are not guaranteed to start games.

"I like Chicharito a lot," he said, lamenting that he is not getting enough playing time behind Robin Van Persie. "Unfortunately he is not getting minutes (at Manchester United), his manager doesn't fancy him."


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