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 By Tom Marshall

Tijuana's Herrera, Tigres' Ferretti continue war of words ahead of semi

Club Tijuana coach Miguel "Piojo" Herrera and Tigres' Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti have been heating up Thursday's 2017 Clausura semifinal, with a battle of words ahead of the first leg.

The spat started Monday when Ferretti labeled Herrera his "idol," because "Piojo" has already allegedly agreed to become manager of another club -- widely reported to be America -- next season while he is still fighting for the Liga MX title with Club Tijuana.

"'Piojo' is my idol," Ferretti said on Monday, with a wide smirk on his face. "Suddenly I'm managing one team and then I'm contracted to another. I'd love to know how that is done."

Ferretti suggested that if he did the same at Tigres he would be "hung from the highest post by the weakest part" of his body.

The tone was tongue-in-cheek, but Herrera's reaction was fierce when interviewed later in the day by ESPN.

"I'll respond with what he once told me: Shut your snout, 'Tuca,'" said Herrera. "There's no reason not to say it, I've not arranged anything with any [club]."

In Wednesday's press conference, former Mexico coach Herrera said that 63-year-old Ferretti -- who replaced him with El Tri on a temporary basis after he struck a reporter -- had problems with his memory.

"It seems to me that 'Tuca' has Alzheimer's as well," opined Herrera. "Who is the only coach that hasn't been fired from a team? 'Tuca' Ferretti. So how has he changed teams then?"

The suggestion that Herrera has already arranged to return to Club America certainly seems to have irked the Xolos coach, although when it comes to Thursday's vital match, both maintained respect for the other.

"[The 3-0 win in week 16 doesn't give] any parameter [for Thursday]," said Ferretti on Monday. "They are totally distinct games and we will be taking on the super-leader, the team with most points and that played best during the whole season. We have to be humble, centered and take them on with all the respect they deserve."

For Herrera, Xolos will have to remain concentrated for the crucial semifinal and wary of not making mistakes against a rampant Tigres.

"Tigres won't forgive you, they have such a expansive team that if you give them the opportunity through errors and distractions, they'll take advantage to the maximum because of the quality of the players they have," said Herrera.

Tom Marshall covers Liga MX and the Mexican national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @MexicoWorldCup.


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