Merlo bolsters Racing return with second successive win

Mon Nov 4, 2013 11:21am EST
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By Rex Gowar

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Not for nothing is there a statue of Reinaldo Merlo, nicknamed Mostaza (mustard) for the color of his hair, outside Racing Club's headquarters.

Merlo was the last man to steer Racing to the Argentine league title in 2001, ending a 35-year wait, and he is back apparently disproving the generally accepted adage that a returning coach rarely brings new success.

Mostaza returned to Racing last month as their third coach of the season with the team firmly rooted to the bottom of the Inicial championship standings with two points from 11 matches, their worst start.

Racing lost Merlo's first match in charge two weeks ago but have since strung together their first two victories, both away where there was less pressure on the players, including the weekend's 3-1 defeat of Gimnasia.

"I've got the diagnosis for Racing but I'm keeping it to myself," Merlo told a news conference on his appointment on October 14.

"This team has order, attitude and tremendous will," the 63-year-old said after Saturday's second win.

"We're in good spirits, we have to carry on like this, with humility and without losing our attitude. There are players with skill and to this we've added sacrifice."

Merlo warned, however, that Racing "need more pause, more ball possession, there's still a lot of work to be done. From the moment I got here I've had faith we're going to pull through."   Continued...