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Friday, 10 May, 2002, 12:36 GMT 13:36 UK
Aguirre must be 'Daddy Cool'
Javier Aguirre
Aguirre got cross with Manuel Vidrio for losing his cool

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A top Mexican sports psychologist has urged national team coach Javier Aguirre to cool his volotile temper and concentrate his powerful personality on maintaining harmony among his players.

Dr Elena Aviles, who has worked with Michel Platini, Bora Milutinovic, and many stars from the explosive world of boxing, stepped into the debate after Aguirre publicly attacked Manuel Vidrio.

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Aguirre has to be a benovolent father figure - he must be careful about his temper
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Dr Elena Aviles
sports psychologist

The Mexican defender had himself lost his cool with a linesman during a practice session, prompting Aguirre to end training early.

"That doesn¿t work," Dr Aviles said. "The most important element in a soccer team is harmony among the players.

"Javier Aguirre must be be strict and he is right to pay close attention to discipline on the pitch, but at the self same time, he has to be a benovolent father figure and he must be careful about his temper.

"If the players become angry with him it could be terribly counter-productive.

"One good method is to write things down to eliminate any negativity and then talk calmly with players as well as positively.

"In soccer¿s most important competition everyone is nervous and afraid. Even Michel Platini admitted this to me. But, if you believe you are the best, you have a much better chance of success."

Aguirre inspired the Mexico team to World Cup qualification against the odds after a disastous start.

"He is a marvellous motivator," Dr Aviles said, "and he also shrewdly injected new young players into the team at just the right time."

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The key to success is to play the game with your head not your legs - your mind is everything
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Dr Elena Aviles

Now Mexicoface a tough time in Group G alongside Croatia, who finished third at France 98, in-form Ecuador and three-times World Cup winners Italy.

"Team Mexico must not think how important or famous their opponents are," Dr Elena advised. "They must and will believe they can win, even if the other team has a bigger reputation.

"You have to play your best and forget about the rest.

"The Croatian players are quite old, but they also have a lot experience, so Mexico has to be careful.

"It also doesn¿t really matter if they are not as tall as the Croatians; being fast and using your natural speed is a good compensation.

"The key to success is to play the game with your head not your legs, because the brain is the biggest 'muscle' in the body. Your mind is everything."


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GROUP G
  P GD PTS
MEXICO 3 +2 7
ITALY 3 +1 4
CROATIA 3 -1 3
ECUADOR 3 -2 3

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