-Rancagua (Chile) - Mexico's manager Miguel Herrera blamed referees for his team's early exit at the Copa America and said his players now have a duty to bounce back and win the Gold Cup in the United States next month.
He was shown a red card during the 1-2 loss to Ecuador, a result that sent them to the bottom of Group A and out of the tournament at the group stage for the second time running.
"They are kicking us out of the tournament, they aren't doing their work and we are trying to do ours to the best of our ability," he told TV Azteca moments after the final whistle on Friday.
"I am shouting at Raul (Jimenez) to head the ball to his team-mate and he sends me off. I don't understand the referees who are watching managers instead of what is happening on the pitch."
The famously animated manager decided to take an understrength squad to the Copa and rest some of his best players for the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Football's Gold Cup.
Among those who did not travel to Chile are Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, Carlos Vela and brothers Giovani and Jonathan dos Santos.
The men who replaced them failed to win any of their three matches. Although they impressed in a 3-3 draw with hosts Chile, they were also disappointing in a 0-0 draw with Bolivia, a team who had not won a Copa game since 1997.
"We can't play so poorly, with so many serious errors and so little penetration or attitude," Herrera said. "We handed the initiative to our rivals but I think we were even worse against Bolivia.
"That was (the game) that really knocked us out."
Herrera said he expected his players to react immediately and do better in the Gold Cup, where they will face Cuba, Guatemala and Trinidad and Tobago in the first round, starting on July 7.
"If we failed in the first objective, then we need to win the next one. We need to start working with the other group," he said.
"I stress that if we don't do things properly, then we need to admit our failures."