SANDY, Utah – Monterrey manager Víctor Manuel Vucetich backtracked Tuesday on the comments he made last week which offended Real Salt Lake following their 2-2 CONCACAF Champions League final first-leg match in Mexico.
He also went out of his way to compliment the MLS team on several occasions during a media scrum following his team’s final practice session at Rio Tinto Stadium ahead of the series' second leg.
“I think the comments were misinterpreted,” Vucetich said after Monterrey’s stadium walkthrough on Tuesday. “We have the recordings and it’s totally misinterpreted. We’ve always said that today we know [Real Salt Lake] better. There’s no doubt that I know the team better and that should not offend anyone.”
[inline_node:334807]Vucetich pointed reporters to Monterrey’s PR director for the actual recordings of his postgame press conference following the 2-2 draw between Real Salt Lake and Monterrey at the Estadio Tecnológico.
He went as far as implicating the integrity of the American media establishment.
“This [situation] might lead us to believe that here in the US, things are managed in the media in a different way,” he said when asked about his reaction to RSL’s discontent.
With specific reference to the phrase he used in Spanish, “ensuciaron mucho el partido” – which translates to "they really dirtied the match" – Vucetich claimed that something was lost in translation.
“Over [in Mexico] it’s very common,” Vucetich said of the term. “We’re in our country and we speak in the colloquial manner that is used.”
He then proceeded to praise Real Salt Lake every at every opportunity he had in Tuesday’s 10-minute session with reporters.
• “Two teams which I’ve said clearly that they have merits for being in this final. No one has gifted us anything, none of us two.”
• “Each side will defend its style of play which has delivered results for both of us.”
• “What RSL has shown is that it’s a professional team and it’s well-structured. We have to apply ourselves 100 percent.”
• “Salt Lake has characteristics which they back up very well. They’re very well-organized. They know the system they’re playing and that makes for the battle between these two sets of characteristics to see who wins.”
Despite his efforts to make nice, Vucetich made no qualms about the fact that his team would be out to seek the victory at Rio Tinto Stadium, by any means necessary.
Monterrey may have another must-win match coming up this Saturday at Chivas de Guadalajara in Mexico with a domestic-league playoff berth on the line, but Vucetich said that he won’t be holding back any player against RSL. He confirmed that Sergio Santana and Humberto Suazo are fully fit and expected to be the starting forwards on Wednesday.
Also, Vucetich gave his first confirmed starter of the evening. He said Argentine winger Neri Cardozo would be in the starting lineup even though he arrived separately from the team – and several hours later – because of immigration paperwork issues.
Monterrey find themselves in a dry patch of seven matches without a victory in all competitions.
“We’ve always been united,” Vucetich said. “We’ve never not been and today, more than ever, we know that we have to be united. We have to be very patent. It’s 90 minutes. We don’t have to do crazy things. We have to be very intense and very aggressive and look with determination for a goal that would take us to the [Club World Cup].”