17 de Noviembre del 2016 5:53 pm.
Torreon, Coahuila, November 17, 2016 – While the 2016 Apertura is coming to a close for los Guerreros of Santos Laguna, head coach Jose Manuel de la Torre will look to end the tournament on a high note with a win over his former team.
“Chepo” won titles with Toluca in 2008 and 2010 before assuming the reigns with Mexico.
"When you go through a Club or someplace where you have left friends or good feelings, the memories are always very pleasant," he commented to media at the beginning of his press conference Tuesday afternoon. "Fortunately I have been through many places, and in this case with Toluca, and I'll always keep great memories with me."
Shifting focus to Santos' final game of the 2016 Apertura, "Chepo" maintains the mentality of closing the tournament on a high note, looking to leave Toluca with three points in favor of los Guerreros.
"They didn’t start (this) tournament very well," he said of his former team. "But they have recovered much ground in all aspects. As they improved individually, they collectively looked better. They've figured out a good way to play according to their conditions."
Toluca is in eighth place in the table currently, good for a spot in the 2016 Apertura's post season after having recently defeated Queretaro 3-2 away from home.
"Their players are important as they have been figures in other places," he added. "They’re a strong team."
Santos spent the international break without defender Nestor Araujo and forward Djaniny Tavares, who reported to duty with Mexico and Cape Verde for World Cup qualifiers. Additionally, three younger players training with the first team spent a week with Mexico's U20 team at the Federation's High Performance Center to prepare for their U20 World Cup qualifiers in February. The remaining squad traveled to Monterrey for a friendly against Rayados and defeated them 3-1, with goals by Jonathan Rodriguez, Jorge Vilafaña, and Diego de Buen.
"We never want to lose activities or the competition aspect," de la Torre commented with respect to the friendly match. "We had several players missing who were with their respective national teams so that gave us the opportunity to see other players and keep watching what is best for the team, keep players on pace for the next game (against Toluca)."
With the last game of the tournament looming without the chance of participating in the playoffs, attention will soon shift to shaping team with the firm intention of qualifying for the next tournament.
“Decisions will be taken in conjunction with our Directors to have the best possible pool (of options)," de la Torre said. "What we have planned for the next tournament is to look for more consistency, more solidity in all aspects, and we're looking to qualify. (These are) all objectives very clear in this institution."
Santos heads into their final game with a 3-9-4 record, having recently posted a win at home against Chiapas for week 16.
“The intention is to rescue the most amount of points we can," he commented. "There is no exception, closing well is always important. Despite the circumstances, the team is still working very well."