N Touch
Monday 22 July 2019
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TT goalie, coach disappointed by humiliating loss

TT head coach Dennis Lawrence.
TT head coach Dennis Lawrence.

TT GOALKEEPER Marvin Phillip and coach Dennis Lawrence both expressed disappointment after the team’s 6-0 humiliation by the United States in their Concacaf Gold Cup Group D fixture on Saturday evening.

According to Phillip, “It’s absolutely embarrassing for us. We knew what was at stake, but we just didn’t show up.”

TT were beaten by Panama 2-0 in their opening game last Tuesday, and needed to avoid defeat against the reigning champs US to stay alive in the competition.

The 34-year-old goalie noted, “We had a reasonable first half but there was a period in the second half, about 25 minutes, when we just lost structure (and) shape. When you meet teams like the US, they would take advantage of those situations.”

TT will end their Gold Cup campaign on Wednesday against Guyana and Phillip said, “We need to do a rain-check on ourselves and try to play for some pride.”

Lawrence suffered his 15th defeat as TT coach since taking over from Belgian Tom Saintfiet in January 2017.

During the post-match media conference, he said, “We have to change (our) mentality. We have to learn to stand up and fight.”

He added, “We lost concentration, we started to go gung-ho to see if we can get back in the game. That’s not the way we do things. You have to stay organised.”

Experienced midfielder Kevin Molino and Joevin Jones started the game on the bench, and Lawrence explained, “Molino just came off a (knee) injury. I have to protect the players and ensure that I don’t push them at the wrong time.”

Referring to the forthcoming Guyana match, Lawrence pointed out, “There will definitely be changes. We need to put this behind our backs as quickly as possible.”

A pair of ex-national players were both scathing in their views, on Facebook, of Saturday’s result.

Former TT women team’s skipper Maylee Attin-Johnson wrote, “They love to say ‘I want to give back to my country’. Their supporters love to say ‘he/she patriotic’. I would say, these people love to use patriotism conveniently. Let’s see how patriotic the coach is. I hope he does the honourable thing and resign.”

Attin-Johnson added, “To the players, you must take blame as well. There is so much a coach can do. Fitness is something that you as a player can control and as a professional coming to a national team a coach shouldn’t have to focus on getting you fit. Effort is something a coach cannot teach you, that’s a personal choice.

“I do not care if you have beef with a coach, a player or a federation. Once you decide to don the red, black and white, and walk out on that field, nothing else should matter but playing with maximum effort and pride.”

Lawrence’s former TT teammate, goalkeeper Kelvin Jack wrote, “I can talk about the schoolboy errors made by the players and their shocking naivety. I can talk about tactics or lack of tactical awareness. I can talk about our lack of technical ability. I do have a slight bit of sympathy for Lawrence but ultimately he must shoulder responsibility for on-field matters; only to a point though.. his record is abysmal however he lacks many tools.

“David John-Williams is the president of the TTFA (TT Football Association) and it is truly astonishing how his ineptitude and depressing lack of vision has not caused TT football fans to launch a mass protest demanding his resignation.”

Lawrence, the former TT central defender, has a record of five victories, five drawn results and 15 losses during his time at the helm.
Look Loy said, “In terms of the immediate situation, I cannot understand how Lawrence could pick a 23-man squad, included one forward (Shahdon Winchester) who hasn’t seen the field yet, rely on midfielders to score and your two leading goalscoring midfielders (Molino and Joevin Jones) are on the bench. We are the only team in the tournament not to have scored a goal at this point.

We concede goals exactly the same way. Our biggest weakness is marking in the (penalty) box.

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