Everything and everyone is great... until they aren’t. At least that’s the way it was for Miguel Herrera during his Tigres tenure. Have a short-term memory do we? The day he was introduced as head coach back in May 2021, Herrera spoke of the elite club he had signed for and the immense quality of its players. So, you mean to tell me that just over a year later is when he only first comes to the realization that the club has become old? And more so that being the reason why he couldn’t even reach a final with the club? Really Miguel? No, actually. Sorry, but this club performed at an extremely high level during your tenure.
Yesterday, club president Miguel Culebro spoke briefly with the media and said, “As I mentioned a few weeks ago at the end of the season, we were beginning an evaluation period. The evaluation period concluded and the decision, well, you already know it.” Riiight. And I get it; Culebro can’t publicly say what he’s thinking, but come on. That evaluation was really another way of buying time to get a head start on their next head coaching search which they have, as he also mentions to the press. But they already knew what was coming just as well as Miguel did.
In reality, ‘Piojo’ was ready to cut loose from the San Nicolás de los Garza club as much as six months ago, when he signed a World Cup analyst contract with Telemundo. Did he honestly expect Tigres front office to let him skip the entire Clausura 2023 conditioning / prep / preseason phase to broadcast the World Cup, only to return 2 weeks prior to the start of the season and get up to speed? Of course not. Did he expect to resume his job as usual after saying his squad was “too old” with no backlash from players or front office? Of course not.
The fact of the matter is Herrera knew the Apertura 2022 would in effect be his last season and did everything in the rulebook to make sure that’s how it ultimately went down. In the end, there are three reasons from where I stand as to why ‘Piojo’ would force his way out of Tigres. Here they are:
He knows ‘Tata’ Martino is out at the conclusion of the World Cup.
It’s no secret Miguel Herrera feels robbed of his true shot at the Mexican NT helm ever since he was ousted in 2015 due to punching TV Azteca play-by-play announcer Christian Martinoli. After taking over a very troubled and chaotic Mexico team in late 2013, he won the playoff series against New Zealand and led El Tri to a very good World Cup performance.
Well, multiple sources have mentioned Martino’s tenure will conclude as soon as Mexico’s participation in the World Cup does, and Herrera wants to make sure he’s available for that. This is easily the main reason why he was ready to leave Tigres.
The move will put him close to the NT during the entire World Cup.
Not only will he have the time to analyze every aspect of the NT, but he’ll be close to their high office as well, providing a chance to meet with them and go over anything if he truly is being considered for the role. He’ll also be in the public’s minds as well as the NT high office, considering the daily platform he’ll have on Telemundo. A great PR move for him considering he is attempting a NT return.
The weight of the pressure in Tigres was getting heavy.
Despite true, this is the least of Miguel’s concerns. He knows what it’s like to feel pressure and stress from a fanbase with a continuing lack of results. The same thing happened when he coached América. Nothing new there. But one can’t deny the fact Herrera failed as Tigres coach. Despite not finishing lower than 5th overall In his three seasons with the club (top 4 in 2 out of the 3 seasons), he couldn’t get passed the semifinals, and even took a step back this season being eliminated in the QF.
But it’s also how he lost all three seasons. Ill-advisedly subbing out Gignac, causing the loss to León, bad management of the lineup rules, causing his team’s elimination to Atlas, and bad set pieces tactics, causing the loss to Pachuca this season. The responsibility mostly falls on his shoulders for all three rather than his core players’ age as he suggested the night they were eliminated by Tuzos. Fans were growing restless and the pressure has continued to mount every season with his same, silly mistakes.
Whatever the case, this is a move that I believe will greatly benefit Tigres. It’s clear Herrera had hit a wall and run out of excuses. And so, he leaves after but a short stint with one of the most powerful clubs in the league and takes his somewhat limited coaching skills elsewhere.
Fox Sports’ Gustavo Mendoza has confirmed Diego Cocca will be the new head coach. It’s just a matter of days before it’s announced. If this is indeed the case, Tigres will get a defensive-minded head coach, as ‘Tuca’ was, but with a fresh take and can potentially maximize this team’s production, as many of the players were here during Ferretti’s tenure, so they’re used to that type of system. And ultimately, Tigres will look to get back into a Liga MX final, a goal that proved too much for Herrera, not to mention a league title.