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Wanchope: It would've been another story if we'd had the team that won the championship

Goal.com logo Goal.com 02-03-2017

Saprissa sporting director Paulo Wanchope saw a Pachuca team that was clearly better than his side in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, but believes things could have been different for the Costa Rican champion.

Saprissa had four players move abroad during the transfer window, with midfielder David Guzman and defenders Francisco Calvo and Adolfo Machado making moves to MLS. Panamanian forward Rolando Blackburn moved to the Peruvian league, while defender Roy Miller is set to join the Portland Timbers after a 4-0 loss to the Liga MX side Tuesday knocked Saprissa from the competition.

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Wanchope said that the team did move to strengthen the side in the face of the departures, but those efforts fell short of building a team that could compete in the CCL knockout stage.

"You can't interpret it in the wrong way because we did bring in reinforcements, we brought in new players, but these new players also have to adapt to the team and come together as a team," Wanchope told La Nacion. "We've been in this search for the ideal XI for international competition since December. We looked taking into account injuries and everything. We thought we'd found it, but it wasn't enough.

"I think it would've been another story if we'd had the team that won the championship. There already was a team, a solid team, but now we have to rebuild."

The former Derby County and Manchester City forward also noted that Tuzos had the ability to keep players even after receiving a quality bid. Reports during the winter said Pachuca got a number of big offers to acquire winger and Mexico international Hirving Lozano, but the club isn't planning to sell the 21-year-old until the summer. It's a luxury that, for Wanchope, doesn't exist in Costa Rica.

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"They have three players who make the difference, the three up front and everybody saw it. Hirving Lozano, Jonathan Urretaviscaya and Franco Jara, the truth is they're very skilled and Pachuca is an organization that already has had time to work together and they've got clear goals.," he said. "That's why a European club offered $15 million for Lozano and Pachuca still said they were going to wait. Us, in this country, including our club like all the others in Costa Rica, we don't have this opportunity. You have to understand there are other factors, although they're going to sound like excuses."

Wanchope and Saprissa now turn their focus to the domestic campaign, where Los Morados sit third after 12 rounds of play.

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