DENNIS Lawrence, TT men’s football team coach, is expecting a more positive approach today against Martinique, at the Hasely Crawford Stadium, Mucurapo.
This game will be the return leg of their Concacaf Nations League League A Group C tie, following Friday’s 1-1 draw at Fort-de-France, Martinique. Today’s match will kick off at 9 pm.
During the pre-match media conference, at the old TTFA (TT Football Association) office, Hasely Crawford Stadium, yesterday, Lawrence said, “We need to try and get on the front foot, and not allow them to build on the momentum that they had in Martinique.
“This is expected because we’re playing at home,” he added. “We have the fans behind us and that’s why I give credit to the boys for holding out for a draw. Now it’s up to us to go about our business in a very professional way, and the right way.”
On Friday, Cyril Mandouki put the hosts ahead in the 41st minute before Joevin Jones tied the scores, from the penalty spot, in the 63rd.
Lawrence highlighted the quality he saw from the Martinique attackers.
“I think they’ve got some very good wingers, quick (and) tricky,” he said. “Their front two are very clever with their movements. I think they’ve got a good understanding between them and we need to be very mindful of these things.
“Something we’ll need to improve on is (the) set-piece because they caused us some threats, in terms of the delivery and how they attacked the ball,” Lawrence added.
The TT coach called up the overseas-born trio of Ryan Telfer (winger), Daniel Carr (striker) and Andre Fortune (midfielder) for these games, with Telfer making an impressive debut on Friday.
“I was pleased with Ryan,” said Lawrence. “(His) performance wasn’t surprising to me because I know what he was capable of and that’s why we’ve been in communication with him for a while. Hopefully the other two boys will get a taste in this game (today). We’ll see how that goes.”
Central defender Sheldon Bateau, who has been named captain in the absence of the injured Khaleem Hyland, drew the penalty on Friday, after surging from the back to meet a pass from Telfer.
According to Bateau, “My job is to defend and keep (clean sheets). Sometimes you want to bring something extra to the team and, as the captain, it’s always good to, not only speak but to show by example. I was happy that things played out the way it did.”
The Belgium-based defender is not fazed by the role as team skipper, saying “I’m happy to be at the helm of the team for the moment but if Khaleem is here (or) not here, my job remains the same.”
Today’s game will be TT’s first, at home, since a 1-0 loss to Panama on April 2018.
Bateau said, “We’re glad to be home. It’s been a while since we’ve played a game at home. We’re just eager to go out there and prove ourselves in front of the fans.”
Martinique coach Mario Bocaly is expecting a more determined approach from TT today.
He noted, “We (had) a good game (on Friday). They are a good team (with) quality, technical and physical. I think (this) will be a different match because I saw Trinidad being defensive in Martinique and they’ll be more offensive (today).”