Meet the former Man City bootroom boffin making a splash with Mexico

Anything less than a regulation Champions League home win seems unlikely when Napoli visit Manchester City, despite the Partenopei claiming 11 victories from 12 games this term.

Maurizio Sarri’s side’s one loss during that run came away to Shakhtar Donetsk in Group F, with City subsequently beating the champions of Ukraine 2-0 at the Etihad.

Pep Guardiola’s charges are warm favourites to make it 10 triumphs on the spin and all but secure passage to the last 16 in front of the faithful.

More than 5000 miles south east over the Atlantic, one of City’s former employees would be forgiven for putting his feet up and enjoying what promises to be meaty fare.

As it is, Mexico chief Juan Carlos Osorio looks likely to be batting off rumours regarding the vacant USMNT job from a hostile national press.

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The Colombian led El Tri to their seventh World Cup finals in a row with three games to spare, while ensuring the US missed out thanks to a 3-2 loss in Honduras earlier last week.

Part of Mexico’s press and swathes of supporters won’t forgive Osorio for their country’s shameful 7-0 Copa America hiding from Chile 16 months ago, despite an impressive win rate of 18 in 29 fixtures since.

Humble origins

It’s all a far cry from the lecture halls of Liverpool John Moores University, where the 56-year-old studied for a Science and Football degree in the late 1990s.

Or even his time as Kevin Keegan’s assistant at Manchester City, after starting at the club as conditioning coach.

Osorio hopped around the MLS and Colombia after leaving the North West, winning various titles with Atletico Nacional in the latter, before landing a plum job with Brazilian side Sao Paulo two-and-a-half years ago.

Six months and 25 games later, he jumped ship for an opportunity to coach at a World Cup.

The pressure will be on to stick around Russia beyond the first fortnight.

Somehow or other, Mexico have gone out at the last-16 stage in each of the past six World Cups.