Mixed review from Bermuda coach after Nations League defeat
Bermuda coach Michael Findlay is adamant his players must “raise their competitive spirit” if they are to achieve their primary objectives .
Findlay’s remarks came in the wake of the national football team’s 4-3 defeat in their League B group 3 Nations League match against St Vincent & the Grenadines on Tuesday.
“First and foremost I am gravely disappointed with the result,” Findlay told The Royal Gazette.
“I think we certainly learnt a very good lesson about what the primary responsibility is and that is to compete to fight. We didn’t lose a match, we lost a fight.
“To begin with we need to raise our competitive spirit in situations like that and it didn’t help the conditions, travel and those type of things, but they had the same issues as we did, so it’s one of those scenarios where we had to dig in, and I think we lost our way for ten minutes and it caused us a great amount of problems and ultimately the match.”
Bermuda led 1-0 after a goal from Jai Bean before the home side hit back through an Oalex Anderson hat-trick inside six minutes just before half-time.
“There was six or seven minutes of chaos that in the international arena is going to be incredibly costly,” Findlay said.
“Half-time was a moment of soul searching and it was like something out of nowhere came upon them and I think they were a little shellshocked to be in the position.”
Bermuda fell further behind after Jahvin Sutherland extended the advantage in the 63rd minute before Remy Coddington and substitute Lejuan Simmons pulled two goals back.
“After half-time I was pleased with their response, even though we conceded another one in the early stages, and you have to applaud them that did respond,” Findlay said.
“We went back to the principles we have been trying to instil in them and controlled large portions of the game and ultimately did get goals.
“We probably could have had more even, but we had trouble defending in transition as they were very direct and very physical and they executed when they had their chances, and that was the difference at the end of the day.
“It’s unfortunate they needed to have that response because we should not have given away the goals we did at the end of the first half, which then created the issues.
“Even in the second half, we felt very comfortable in the technical area among the coaching staff that we were still actually in this game.
“We were creating opportunities and dictating, but that doesn’t necessarily win you football matches and, as I said, we lost a fight to begin with and we have to learn from that in a big way.
“I think the players were really disappointed they didn’t get something out of it, but I think they realised the deficiencies and I think they are willing to address it.”
The defeat leaves Bermuda five points adrift of St Vincent and two behind second-placed Belize, but Findlay still believes gaining promotion is still within reach.
“It’s all to play for and Belize did us a favour in getting a result in French Guiana,” he added.
“I think if we do what we need to do in October and November, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if we were topping the group.
“Before we can talk about that we have to review and analyse what we did right and what we did wrong and get ready for that first game away in Belize in October because that’s going to be the catalyst to the next one.
“We want to get a domino affect in terms of results because we want to change that mindset and change the picture here.
“We know this is a period of transition and we’ve got to be patient, but the short-term scenario is we still have to get results if we want to move out of League B. We do have to be patient but that doesn’t mean we can’t set high standards.”
Findlay made three changes to the starting line-up from the team that drew 0-0 with French Guiana at the Flora Duffy Stadium four days earlier with Coddington, Reggie Lambe and debutant Aunde Todd coming in for Milan Butterfield, Luke Robinson and Zeiko Lewis.
Lewis, Liam Evans and Deniche Hill were absent from the matchday squad while Butterfield was ruled out after aggravating a foot injury while training the day before the match.
“Milan Butterfield was removed from the starting line-up due to an injury so that was a forced change,” Findlay said.
“Other than that we always wanted to bring in a couple of these younger, uncapped players because we need to get them into some form of competition to see what we have here and whether it’s a now time or a waiting period for them. So that’s really the balancing of the changes.
“We stayed pretty consistent throughout the rest of the team and we always had a strategy in exacting what we were going to do that certainly escalated at half-time when we made those two changes, which I think were very positive.
“Ne-Jai Tucker and Luke Robinson coming in were very influential changes to raise the intensity level and get back to dictating control.”
Tucker was among three players making their debut alongside Aunde Todd and Kashe Hall and Findlay was impressed.
“They were put into a situation where it was not easy and they responded, and that has got to bode well for us as we build here,” Findlay said.
“That’s incredibly encouraging in terms of what we have in the future.”