GUADALAJARA, Mexico -- Former Argentina international Matias Almeyda believes he is improving as a coach with the challenge of managing all-Mexican side Chivas in a Liga MX that is becoming increasingly dominated by imports.
The Guadalajara-based team has a long-standing policy of only fielding Mexican players, while the new 10/8 Liga MX rule for the Apertura 2016 allows up to 10 players from abroad in each match-day squad.
"Playing only with Mexicans makes you think double or triple as much in each training session, because the other teams have the chance to sign foreigners," said Almeyda in an interview with ESPN's Sportscenter. "We are accepting the history of the club and I like it."
Former River Plate manager Almeyda has been impressed with what he has seen since he arrived at Chivas in Sept. 2015, particularly with respect to Mexican players.
"I've learned about Mexican players and how youth systems [in Mexico] are run," continued Almeyda. "The Mexican player works like few others in the world. They have a good collective game and only training them makes me grow as a coach because it makes you think a lot more."
Almeyda arrived at Chivas in Sept. 2015 and has improved the team's fortunes, leading them to the quarterfinals of the playoffs in both the Clausura and Apertura seasons in 2016 and winning the Clausura 2015 Copa MX. The threat of relegation has also been put behind the club, who earned more regular season points this year than all but three other teams.
The Chivas squad is currently on vacation after their exit to Club America, although the club has loaned midfielder Carlos "Gullit" Pena to Leon and striker Marco Bueno to Monterrey so far this offseason.