He will not always get it right, but Head Coach Russell Latatpy is not throwing the blame at anyone’s feet, and will continue to shoulder the burden of the Bajan Trident’s 8-1 defeat by Bermuda in the Preliminary Round of the Concacaf Gold Cup.
“We have a group of players that I believe in and who I think are more than capable of playing and getting us results. It was a very unexpected result against Bermuda. I have to say it loud and clear; I take full responsibility for whatever results we have on the field, and I will protect my players to the end,” he said during a post-game press conference this morning.
Pointing out a number of things that contributed to the downfall, Latapy said travel arrangements contributed to the lack of unity and cohesion. Despite the team traveling on June 27, it wasn’t until June 30 that everyone was present. He also noted not having the full team on hand to practice was a hindrance as well as the weather conditions that only allowed for 20 minutes of training time. Then on the night of the game, play was delayed by an hour, there was some uncertainty and there were no allowances for a complete warm-up.
“A lot of these things contributed to how we started the game and how we played. When I think about the game, there are a lot of things that worsened our character. It’s not what we showed over the ten games that I was here. I think we were second to a lot of balls. One of the things we say to the players is in order for us to compete at this level, we cannot be outfought and we cannot be outworked. In this game we were definitely second to everything; we were outfought, we were outworked, and it’s not something that I can say is part of the team based on the games I’ve been in charge of,” he said.
He also noted it was easy to point fingers at individual players and their performances after a loss, but said that was not his style and they would continue to work things out on the pitch.
“I’ve tried to build a team that works together in my time here. I will talk to individual players about their performances, but I think it is incorrect to come after a loss and talk about individual players and those who weren’t selected,” he said.
In acknowledging the last game might have been reminiscent of Brazil’s 7-1 drumming by Germany in the 2014 World Cup, Latapy said whenever a loss such as that was had it meant they needed to refocus.
“Whenever we lose a game in that way, we definitely have to look for ourselves and know that there are improvements we have to make and things that we have to get right or can’t get that wrong. When I look at the games we played before, it was really uncharacteristic of how we played this game and what we try to call our identity and the way we play or our philosophy. This was very different from who we are. We’re going to get deeper into it and try to make changes to ensure improvements and ensure that results like this don’t come our way again,” he said.
He added: “My purpose is to identify some of the shortcomings that we have and improve on them in every department, and ensure that we do right by football and by the BFA, and to ensure we’re always moving in the right direction. It is my job and my responsibility to pick a team based on what I’ve seen on the training ground and I’ve tried to do that to the best of my ability. There is no doubt that opinions vary and at times, it appears to people that some players should be on the squad. I’m not always going to get it right, but all my selection processes are done on the football pitch.”