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Lightbourne: We have to be at our best

Bermuda coach Kyle Lightbourne says that his players will have “to be at their best” against heavy favourites El Salvador at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica today.

The young Gombey Warriors held Trinidad and Tobago to a 1-1 draw in their opening game, while El Salvador beat host nation Costa Rica 1-0 to go top of group C on Sunday.

Lightbourne watched El Salvador's victory and has drawn up a game plan to combat their high-pressure opponents.

“It's definitely going to be a different challenge from Trinidad playing against a team that seem to close you down very well and are very quick,” Lightbourne said. “We have worked on things in training to try and combat what we saw from them.

“However, we have to also be mindful that they have watched us play and maybe be looking to do certain things, so we're looking to put a system in place that we can try and get something out of this game.

“They look solid but we have to come and be prepared to play. We have to give everything that we have. We know this is a knockout tournament and that's what it has coming down to.

“We gave ourselves a chance by getting in the last game and earning a draw. It wasn't a disastrous result and we know our group is going down to the final day. We know this is going to be a very crucial game and we have to be at our best.

“I'm hoping for a better display against El Salvador. I'm hoping for us to be better on the ball, make brave decisions, attack the ball better, execute on our set pieces and don't give possession away easily. These are the things we have worked on in training and have talked about.”

Lightbourne has a full squad to select from but is keeping tight-lipped on his starting line-up. However, he did hint at potentially making as many as five changes from the previous match. “We have options and we will have changes to the team,” he said.

Forwards Jaz Ratteray-Smith and Paul Douglas, who both came off the bench to play key roles against Trinidad, may have done enough to earn starts.

Ahria Simons could be given the nod over Mikiel Thomas at right back, with Mazhye Burchall, Knory Scott and Amar Lewis among those pushing for a starting role up front.

“We are still debating on the final changes we're looking to make,” Lightbourne said. “We have to assess people and their mental approach before we finalise the squad.”

Bell has strong-arm display, page 35

Lightbourne watches Bermuda train at the Concacaf Under-20 Championship in Costa Rica (Photograph by Colin Thompson)

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Published February 22, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 21, 2017 at 10:27 pm)

Lightbourne: We have to be at our best

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