National coach Angus Eve is feeling no real pressure ahead of tomorrow's CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifier against Montserrat, but he has been working on a few key areas that would, not only get the desired result but will ensure a good performance.
The former national midfielder told the media at a virtual press conference from the team base at the Embassy Suites hotel in Florida, USA on Wednesday that: "I don't know what pressure the team is under because they just missed out on qualifying for the World Cup, so this is actually a rebuilding stage. We have had to pick the players up mentally and get them to think refresh again. And then get them to perform at a particular level. So it's almost like a computer, they're rebooting. I think once the players go and they perform, they put the work in and we can see a difference in the attitude of the guys, I think, in this short space of time, these are the things that we're looking for. Of course, we want a result, we're playing for a result. We want to win both games and qualify for the group stage," Eve explained.
Despite not having a planned warm-up match on Monday due to unsafe COVID-19 conditions, a highly intense scrimmage among all the players, both overseas-based professionals and the local players, helped him in selecting the 23-man team for the match, which came from the 26-man roster he took to the United States, basically just leaving out midfielders Molik Khan and Michel Poon-Angeron.
Eve, a former Mucurapo Secondary School standout said that while the preparation may not have been ideal, he is extremely confident in the work put in with his players so far. 'Gus' as he is normally called, has been formalising a system of play, amid a few concerns he has had, inclusive of a search for a number#9 player: "We have been working with the T&T based guys, we had a mini-camp which you know, and then we came up here and we were still working on the systems. The players who were brought in would have been to compliment the positions I know that they can play, what they can bring to the team when they do come in, thereby making the process more seamless."
With Ryan Telfer, the Atletico Ottawa player the lone recognised target man for T&T, Eve believes only time will tell if he has found his number #9 player: "We have Marcus Joseph and Isaiah Lee, a young man with a lot of potential in the number #9 position. We also have, as I said Marcus 'Lobo' Joseph. Marcus has a great deal of experience playing abroad and doing well in the local leagues. He hasn't had a proper run out at the senior level, so we're hoping he can come good because that is a problem area. We also have Ryan Telfer who can play a number #9 also- and we have a couple of other stuff that we're working on also."
On Tuesday defensive midfielder Khaleem Hyland was confirmed as the captain and Kevin Molino the vice-captain, but the team will be without instrumental midfielder Joevin Jones who was injured during an MLS match last weekend, while Levi Garcia is not available. The combination of Jones and Garcia has been used to telling effect, and their absence has left Eve hoping that other players will step up and grasp at the opportunity.
T&T plays Montserrat tomorrow in a Gold Cup Tournament qualifier at the DRV PNK Stadium in Florida, USA.