Inexperience not at fault, argues Lawrence

Head coach of the Trinidad and Tobago senior men’s team, Dennis Lawrence.

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Head coach Dennis Lawrence says his inexperience had little to do with Trinidad and Tobago’s failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

The former national defender was appointed to the top position in January this year with T&T one from bottom of the standings in the CONCACAF final round qualifying tournament, after losing their first two matches.
Under Lawrence, they won just once and lost five times, with the last of those defeats earlier this month against Panama sealing their demise.

“Unfortunately we did not qualify for Russia for many obvious reasons,” Lawrence said.

“The first thing I started to do was to look at myself and question what can I do better and how can I improve. As regards to my experience as a coach, I don’t think it was the reason we did not qualify. I think it was our performance.”

Trinidad’s opening two defeats came under Stephen Hart who was subsequently fired and replaced by Belgian Tom Saintfiet. He lasted five weeks before resigning suddenly.

Lawrence, who holds a UEFA Pro License coaching badge, served as a member of Roberto Martinez’s coaching staff at English clubs Wigan Athletic and Everton before taking up a position as a member of the Spaniard’s staff when he took over the Belgium national side last year.
However, despite a 1-0 victory over Panama in his first match in charge, he failed to inspire T&T as they lost their next five games.

T&T currently lie bottom of the six-nation standings on three points with two games remaining against powerhouses Mexico on October 6 and against United States four days later.

Lawrence said with T&T now out of the running for a spot at the World Cup, he would now implement the second phase of what had been a two-part strategy.

“We discussed the two-tier plan which was, one, we knew we had Russia so we were going to give Russia our best shot, and in the second tier we haven’t qualified for Russia, so how do we move forward with respect to developing a football philosophy for our country and how are we going to develop players.”

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