For the first time in 11 years, Tuca Ferretti isn’t the one answering questions in front of the press. After leading Tigres to becoming the team of the 2010s decade, his contract was not extended, giving way to a new era in Tigres; The Miguel Herrera era. El Piojo appeared before the press officially for the first time yesterday and was welcomed by Tigres’ official social media accounts as well as his own, in an extremely creative and original way of saying ‘hey’ to the fanbase.
When asked during his press conference if he would be able to fill Ferretti’s shoes after what he accomplished over the last decade, Herrera answered: “Tuca has set the bar very high. We’re happy to arrive at a club that is planning for a new era. Of course, the idea is to improve what he accomplished, which isn’t easy to do, but we’re going to work for it. We have a great squad - an extraordinary squad, we have the most determined and constant fanbase in football probably, and we’re gonna try to do it.” He went on to say he was happy to have arrived at this club where he knows they respect projects and can set his sights on a long-term marriage if the results are there, of course.
So, what does Herrera bring to the table? First off, we know we’re getting an offensive-minded coach who likes to go forward and score goals. It could become increasingly common to see Tigres come out with a back line of 3 center-backs along with 2 wing-backs. This means that in comparison to Ferretti, all the offensive players will undoubtedly have more fun playing for Herrera, instead of rotting away on the bench in some cases, or so you’d expect. You can also expect a more dynamic system, with players moving more off the ball, as well as the added instensity Herrera brings with his style. Statwise, he brings a stellar career of nearly 750 league games coached, over 300 victories, 4 finals appearances out of which 2 became titles. His near two-year stint with the Mexican National Team isn’t something to overlook either, as he was responsible for a memorable 2014 World Cup, with a victory against Croatia, a scoreless draw against host Brazil, and a Round-of-16 loss to the hands of Netherlands which Mexico led heading into the 88th minute. Not to mention, his 2015 Gold Cup title as well. If there’s any stain on his resume, it’s the fact he’s struggled to win titles. And many have argued that the two he did win were lucky. That sounds a lot like the Ferretti complaints if you ask me, except for the fact Tuca managed to win five over those 11 years.
What awaits Herrera at Tigres? Apart from the fact the challenge and expectations are more than overwhelming, he has one of the best strikers in the league in Gignac, along with a supporting cast of newly acquired Florian Thauvin, Nico López, Leo Fernández, and Carlos González. However, he must also deal with an aging defense and midfield which must be replaced soon, as we saw the dip this club took over this past football year, failing to get past the QF and the wild-card round in each season, respectively.
And so, a brand new age for Tigres has arrived. Many fans complained over the past years that Ferretti was holding this team back with his defensive mindset and stubbornness, claiming they could’ve accomplished so much more if a more daring and modern coach had been in charge. Well, their thoughts have been answered; it doesn’t get more offensive and spectacular than Miguel Herrera. The key for El Piojo will undoubtedly be getting this defense back on track. If he can rebuild the defense to fit his style of play, the offensive part is more than covered for now. That would automatically restore this club into the championship contender it should be.