Pumas has ratified interim coach Andres Lillini as the official head coach of the team. Lillini had been the interim coach since Michel Gonzalez stepped down as coach two days before the start of the season. Lillini had been the director of Pumas youth system. The Argentinean has the team in third place and undefeated after five games. Even though they’re the only remaining undefeated team in Liga MX, Pumas hasn’t had the best of performances, with the worst being their home match against FC Juarez in which they tied even when Juarez played most of the match with nine players.
Andres Lillini has been a youth coordinator for most of his career, and had never been a professional coach until this season with Pumas. Lillini had worked in teams like Morelia, Boca Juniors, CSKA Moscow, and San Luis before arriving in Pumas in 2017. With Pumas, he has been leading the youth teams. The surprise departure of Michel Gonzalez meant that Lillini took the team with his assistant coach being ex-Pumas player and head coach of the U20, Israel Lopez. To the surprise of most fans, Lillini was chosen as the interim coach instead of Lopez, who had been coaching a team. Now Lillini should remain the coach at least to the end of the season.
The announcement of Lillini as head coach has left a lot of questions. The fact that Pumas had announced they would be looking for a coach might mean that Pumas financial struggles were a hurdle that prevented them to get a more experienced coach. According to reports, ex-Pumas Coach Hugo Sanchez turned them down. Another possible point of view could be that the surprising start convinced management that he was good enough for the job. Yet a lot of fans feel that the team hasn’t been playing well and the results are a mirage. Results like the tie against FC Juarez actually show there is a lot of truth that the team has been lucky and will suffer when the luck runs out, which many expect will happen on Saturday when they face Tigres in Monterrey. Only time will tell if it was the right decision but if the money woes are a reality, it might have been the only one they could take.