Former Mexico coach Juan Carlos Osorio said he was met with silence when he asked El Tri's players if they could defeat Brazil in the Round of 16 of Russia 2018 World Cup and has questioned whether Mexico had the quality to pull it off.
Osorio's team defeated Germany in the opening game of the tournament and then picked up three points against South Korea, before falling to Sweden in the final group game and eventually losing 2-0 to Brazil in the Round of 16.
"When we took on Brazil I got all my players together and I asked them if they were ready to play against Brazil and the answer was silence," said Osorio in an interview with ESPN Brazil. "I answered: I'm prepared because I've been working for 30 years to play against the best."
The current Atletico Nacional coach praised the talent of Hector Herrera, Hirving Lozano and Carlos Vela, but suggested that he didn't have the same strength at his disposal than Brazil coach Tite.
"When Mexico played against Brazil I knew that all the Brazilians played in the best leagues in the world," said Osorio. "With the very good group of players that we had, Carlos Vela, Hector Herrera and Hirving Lozano, we needed others like Brazil had in the forward line: William, [Philippe] Coutinho, Neymar, Gabriel Jesus. In Mexico we only had one similar to them: Carlos Vela.
"In Brazil's midfield: Casemiro, Paulinho, Renato Augusto; in Mexico only Hector Herrera," he continued. "The full-backs of Brazil: Marcelo and [Dani] Alves; in Mexico we converted [Jesus] Gallardo from a winger. The difference is in the players."
Osorio's comments have sparked a strong reaction in Mexico, with some irked that the coach spoke out about what happened in the locker room.
Other commentators stated that Osorio regularly used to say that Mexico's strongest XI could compete with any other national team in the world, while one pointed out the irony in the recent statements about Brazil's superiority given the "zero excuses" slogan the coach used to wear on his T-shirt.
Osorio attempted to clear up his comments on Monday.
"That reflection was made in the days before the game, not before the match," Osorio told Esto.
Osorio also said he made the statement in the ESPN interview to "make it clear to all the boys that we have been preparing for this opponent all over lives."
The Colombian added that it was "impossible to make myself responsible for all the different interpretations" of the comments.
Mexico crashed out of Russia 2018 at the Round of 16 stage for the seventh consecutive World Cup.