'Tata' on Mexico's Gold Cup win: We'll improve
CHICAGO -- Gerardo "Tata" Martino's Mexico defeated the United States 1-0 on Sunday to lift the Gold Cup and the coach is adamant that there is still much work to do for El Tri.
A second-half goal from Jonathan dos Santos was enough to seal Mexico's eighth Gold Cup, but Martino believes his project with Mexico is still in its infancy.
"We still not there, we need more time together, more time working and training, but we're on the right path," said Martino. "Nothing would've changed that with the final result. A bad result wouldn't have changed that either."
"We'll be better with those that couldn't come," said Martino. "If we consider that one of the three best forwards in the Dutch league [Lozano] couldn't come due to a knee injury, we think there's a bright future. I'm content with how these first six months of my time in charge has gone."
Martino won his first title as a national team coach with the Gold Cup victory, having lost three Copa America finals (two with Argentina, one with Paraguay), and goalscorer Dos Santos stressed the victory was deserved.
"I think we've seen a clear playing style in the friendlies and the Gold Cup and we've defeated a great opponent," Dos Santos told reporters. "The U.S. played well, but we were better today."
Young midfielder Edson Alvarez is happy with the way Mexico's players have taken to the Argentine since he took over in January.
"The playing style is very clear, 'Tata' has told us we have to die for the playing idea at all times, independently of the result," said Alvarez. "That's what sticks with me, we stuck to that playing style at all times."
Meanwhile, U.S. boss Gregg Berhalter admitted that "Mexico was the better team,' and took consolation in his team's gradual improvement under his management.
"I think over the course of 90 minutes, Mexico was the better team," Berhalter said. "Having said that, we started the game really bright, created some really good chances in the match. I think what we lacked was I think some of the confidence, some of the composure. We knew it was going to be a big event, we knew it was going to be a semi-hostile crowd. And I think what I'd say is the confidence is what we lacked. Mexico certainly had it."
Berhalter added that in the second half his side was playing too vertically and wasn't patient enough.
"It cost us a lot of energy to play the way we were playing," he said. "We had a lot of quick attacks. You can't go from your goalkeeper and try to go to their goal 15, 20 times a night. We need also to change the rhythm of the game and keep the ball and move side to side and we didn't do that."
Berhalter later added: "Mexico, they stayed calm, they're experienced, and they were able to keep moving us around and we lost some power."
Despite the defeat -- the U.S. team's fifth against Mexico in six Gold Cup finals -- Berhalter said he liked what he saw from the U.S. in terms of their progress over the course of the tournament.
"You're always searching for a perfect performance, so when you evaluate every game there's things in every game that could have been better," he said. "I think the understanding of ball movement; I think some of the offensive principles are much better understood. Defensively, we conceded two goals all tournament. Chance creation was positive. But overall the group understanding that when we started in camp, for some of them it was like May 25, and we put up a date saying July 7. I told the guys, 'This is when we're going to play to, just get your heads wrapped around that. This is what we're going to go through together.' I think they did an excellent job of that, understanding that it's a long process, but you have to stay focused, you have to keep trying to build."
ESPN FC's Jeff Carlisle contributed to this report.