In a short time, Manuel Mayo has had to take on one of the most difficult challenges in Chilean soccer: the technical management of the men’s and women’s branches of the University of Chile.
A position in which he must live with the complex moments of the team currently led by Sebastián Miranda and also enjoy the fruits of Carlos Véliz’s work. “We have a team that is competitive enough to go for the two-time championship,” he warns.
– What is the analysis of the Copa Libertadores group?
– Like any drink, we’ve already been to two in a row, it’s going to be very hard. I have had to be there with the team and, the truth is, unlike the national championship where there are very demanding games and others not so much, they are all demanding there, they play every two or three days, how the players are is impressive, it is necessary a lot of work from kinesiologists and massage therapists. It’s a very tough month with very tough rivals, but it’s going to be like the previous two cups, where we did very well in the first, we were just a step away from the final, in the second maybe we didn’t meet our goals, but we’re going same line and it seems to me that we have reinforced ourselves very well to go to compete and go as far as possible.
– Through this experience, what things do you reinforce in this new trip?
– Various points we have learned over time. I have had a lot to do with logistics coordination. I started as coordinator in the club, so I know what the men’s Copa Libertadores are like, now I have had to meet two women’s and we are seeing maybe logistical things that maybe we don’t know, but that greatly improve the possibility of rest or food, communication with hotels.
– Any other examples?
– Our nutritionist has to be in daily coordination with the hotel chef, he cannot leave dinners aside, because it may be a meal that may have more carbohydrates than expected or that there is not enough protein or that there is a dessert that does not we want. We are also going to travel with a sports specialist who is a player recovery specialist and a kine who has already made two cups. There, as we did before, we are going to find an extra massage therapist, who will probably be from Ecuador. In the end, outside of football, we have realized that the cup has many details that add up. It is in height and thanks to our agreement with MEDS our players are going every Wednesday to prepare with the machinery. That has added up to a lot. The team has also trained with men’s teams, that gives it another touch. I think we have done a good preparation and I think we will reach the championship in optimal conditions.
– They have three selection reinforcements…
– Yes, Vanina Correa from Argentina, Vecca from Paraguay and Camila Huertas who has been selected many times in Colombia. In the end, this is not just happening overnight. It was shown a couple of years ago when we started the project with Carlos and the first contracts, that by doing things more structured, with greater professionalism, results are being seen, thus the appetite grows, more is being invested, results are being seen and it is a virtuous circle. The leadership has felt represented with this team, with this project, we never stay and we want to improve from semester to semester.
– What is the balance of these years in women’s football?
– The balance is totally positive, we are super happy. That does not mean that we are calm. We always go for more goals. We have to grow, not stay in conformity, but be very demanding as a club like the U deserves.
– How many players make up the first team and how many have a contract?
– There is always this issue of how many players are in the first team. There are youngsters in between. There are some that go up and down. It is a squad of between 22 and 26 players, of which 15 have a professional contract, in addition to two others who have other functions in the club other than as players. Today there are 15 of a project that we started with three, we have been rising faster than we thought and we hope it will continue to rise, not stay there.
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