CF Montreal head-coach Wilfried Nancy was not surprised by his team’s performance in its Opening Day 4-2 success over Toronto FC yesterday.
His relaxed demeanour during the post-match video-conference was surely suppressing a bubble of delight inside. “No, we’ve a lot of ability. I’m not surprised in what the team did today because it’s the way we’ve been working for a long time.
“And I’m very happy because they left all the emotion on the side. They stayed with the task and that’s why we had a good performance. I’m proud because this is what we discussed beforehand, and in the first game as head coach, against Toronto.....?”
For the first time a smile of delight breaks on the face of the head coach. He fights with himself to keep it under control.
“Yes, I am happy for sure, but this is only the first game, so we have to keep moving.”
Having been two goals to the good, his team conceded a penalty on the stroke of half-time, a notoriously porous time for the Impact in 2020. They conceded more goals in the quarter-hour leading up to the interval, than at any other time in games.
Mark Delgado converted the twice-taken spot-kick after Auro’s weak effort was saved by Diop. The ‘keeper was adjudged to have advanced from his line too early.
It surely must have changed Nancy’s half-time talk; being 2-1 up was a much different proposition than 2-0, and the goal coming when it did could have had a psychologically negative affect.
So what did he tell his men at the break?
“My message was to stay composed and calm because we knew they would raise the intensity a little bit more. And the more they do this, the more we have to be calm on the ball to make good decisions.
“I didn’t like that we kept the ball close to our 18-yard box, it was better to do it a little bit higher. And I am happy because we said we needed to keep moving the ball and find the opening and stay high often. This is what we did and it worked today.”
Rather than confounding the critics, Nancy suggested his own personal “victory” from the day was for his team to be able to show what they are capable of.
But like all good and successful coaches he wasn’t completely satisfied. There’s still work to do...
“Today was great in terms of what we wanted to do with the ball. But we have to work on a couple of things. I am happy because the plan was to defend on the front-foot. I have to insist on defending with this mentality. For me this is very important. And they did it.”
Chris Armas the head coach of Toronto was visibly disappointed by his own team’s showing and said, “When you look at the game the starting point is that we just finished 2nd all day long. Coaching, duels, tackles... we came in 2nd all day long.”
Check out the latest, The Ball Is Round Podcast (Episode 25). Recorded Wednesday evening (14 April), the TBIR team discusses the CFM v TFC clash (with special guest Michael Singh of Waking The Red website, Montreal football issues of the week, their top three picks for per Conference, Concacaf Champions League & Canada’s WNT in the UK...
Plus all the usual favourite features... including, Eve’s Time Machine... Don’t miss it!
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