Photo: Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore.
Jamaica’s head coach Theodore Whitmore was pleased to come away with a point against nemesis Mexico last night in their second game of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. A 0-0 draw saw Jamaica earn their fourth point of the competition after a 2-0 win over Curacao to open the tournament.
Speaking with reporters after the game, Whitmore hailed the tactical discipline displayed by the Boyz in earning the crucial point.
“I think it was a very tactical, disciplined performance. We knew what the Mexicans had to offer, I think we didn’t give them enough room and space to hurt us. We knew they would go down the flanks and they are gonna cross, so we took that out of their game.”
Having nullified pretty much all the Mexicans had to offer, Whitmore did admit that his charges also lacked the cutting edge going forward.
“We didn’t create just as they did. They had a lot of ball possession but they didn’t create anything in front of our goal. We still need to work our transition, I think going forward, where we catch teams on the break we tend to go back and tend to dribble instead of passing (forward). So there is a lot we can take from this game but we still have room for improvement.”
Jamaica adopted a defensive posture for most of the game but this was due to the state of the game more so than a deliberate tactic the coach revealed.
“That is how the game developed. At times we caught out the Mexicans, at times (Oneil) Fisher made runs behind the defenders, (Darren) Mattocks made runs, but again we failed to execute that (final) pass. It’s a game by game…we didn’t have enough time to work on things we wanted to do or what we wanted to achieve, but we are very pleased with the draw.”
He also highlighted with the defensive solidity of the team that has gone 180 minutes without conceding in the tournament, but insisted that the transition game needs vast improvement.
“Two games now we haven’t conceded and I think that augurs well for us, I think the back four (was)very solid but there is still room for improvement because the connection between the back four, the midfield and the attacking players, we need to get that coordination going forward.”
The 1998 World Cup hero for Jamaica believes that his players executed his game plan well.
“I am very pleased and I think the guys executed well, we still have a bit of hitches here and there but it is something we can improve on, I think game by game we have seen improvement in some areas but we still need to catch up on others.
Whitmore also believes that his team has exorcized their demons and that they are ready to move forward.
“We have put the Caribbean Cup behind us knowing the fact that we wanted to retain our title but despite not retaining the title and knowing that we are finalists in the Gold Cup 2015…we have lost to Curacao in a final, we have lost to Mexico in a final, now we have played them back to back…and I would say we got the better of them.”
Jamaica will next play El Slavador on Sunday to complete their first round fixtures and will need only a point to advance after the Central Americans went down 1-3 to Mexico in their opening encounter before defeating Curacao 2-0 to claim their first points on Thursday.