As Trinidad and Tobago’s hopes of a second World Cup qualification were dashed on Tuesday night, coach Dennis Lawrence reflected on the woeful 3-0 loss to Panama and immediately began to look ahead to the team’s future which, despite with little at stage, involves two closing qualifying matches in October – away to Mexico and home to the United States.
Lawrence indicated in the post-match session on Tuesday that he will try to finish the “Hex” in the best manner possible but already has his sights on this country’s 2019 Caribbean Cup and subsequent CONCACAF Gold Cup campaigns.
“I knew we were coming into the game and it was going to be a very difficult one because Panama are a very-organised team. I thought the game was very tight before two individual errors cost us the first two goals. And from there it was difficult because Panama showed a good drive and determination to get a victory and I want to congratulate them on that,” Lawrence said.
“Of course it’s very disappointing because we are not into the competition for losing games. We knew what was at stake because if we could have managed to get a victory it would have kept us in it so we are very, very disappointed. We have to find a way to dust ourselves off as soon as possible and move on. We have to start looking ahead to the future,” he added.
“We’ve got a responsibility and there’s still a lot to play for, for other teams. Obviously we are not in contention anymore but we are going to ensure the we put together a squad with the view of the future. We will always put together a squad that will compete and make sure that we don’t let the Hexagonal teams down because obviously we understand that we have a responsibility to go out and put in the performances to try and get results,” Lawrence stated.
He also commented on TT’s missed chances in the first half.
“That was massive for us. If we put away the first chance then it put Panama under pressure, we are on the front foot and it gives us something to hold onto. It’s a situation we had in the last couple of games. We’ve conceded goals and also missed opportunities and it’s something we have to try and fix. It’s a position on the football pitch which I’ve been searching for which is that striker who knows how to put the ball into the back of the net. (Tuesday night) showed the difference. Panama had the couple opportunities and they put away three. We had our chances and we missed so that cost us the game in the end,” Lawrence said.