Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Location: Atlanta, GA
|Posted: Thu Jun 01, 2006 8:54 pm Post subject: Downswell says team's approach lethargic
|Ian Burnett (Observer)
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Leicester City, England -
Technical director Wendell Downswell has identified the team's lethargy in
the first half as the major cause of yesterday's 4-1 defeat to Ghana in the
first of a two-game tour yesterday.
In a classic case of two contrasting halves, the Reggae Boyz went two
goals down after 19 minutes, and though they gave a much-improved
performance in the second half, including a Jason Euell goal to pull the
score to 2-1, two goals in two minutes put paid to any hopes of a revival.
"We were a little bit lethargic in the first half in terms of our approach,"
said Downswell at a post-game press conference. "We recognised that
and in the second half we came out more positive and I am certain that
had we started the first half the way we started the second half, the result
would have been different."
One factor, which could have also turned the Reggae Boyz's fortunes
around, was the introduction of seasoned striker Ricardo Fuller, of
Southampton, who replaced a largely ineffective Luton Shelton at the
Downswell, too, recognised Fuller's impact after the break.
"I think Fuller came in and he kept the ball up front well and that gave the
midfielders some breathing space to keep the ball and take control of the
game," he noted. "We created a few chances, but unfortunately we didn't
convert them. Had we converted at least two of those chances it would
have been a different outcome."
Though the team performed better after the break, its late arrival at the
match venue was totally cause for serious concern. Match organisers had
to delay kick-off by more than 25 minutes, as the Boyz arrived at the
Walkers Stadium 30 minutes before kick-off.
Said Downswell, "This is part of our prep for 2010. It was a wonderful
exercise for us and we used this experience to see where we are. I think
the game was played in good spirits, it is unfortunate that we conceded
four goals, but overall there were some positives in the game."
The coach conceded that the team's late arrival could have impacted
negatively on the players in the first half.
"Reaching late could be one of the contributing factors for the team's
lethargic start because in the second half you could see a significant
improvement, but the traffic played a part in our being late," offered
He also thought that the high turnover rate in midfield played a role in the early setback. Still, Downswell is convinced that there are positives to be
taken into the game against England on Saturday.
"It is good prep for us going into the England game. I have got the
opportunity to look at some players and we brought in other players for
tactical reasons in the second half.
"We are quite confident of doing well against England. We will be much
more charged up for that game . this was a testing ground for us and we
see the England game as our World Cup," added the coach.
Team captain Donovan Ricketts, of Bradford City, who kept well but then
mishandled two balls which resulted in goals, and again had the
displeasure of watching helplessly as the other two goals came via a
defender's goal and a wicked deflection, remained positive.
"No goalkeeper likes to concede goals, but today I was relatively happy
with the goals that we conceded in that it is not everyday you find goals
like those getting in, so come Saturday, hopefully we will minimise our
mistakes in the defensive third and we will have a better game."
He added that his team would "relish playing against England" for many
reasons. "Today we played Ghana in a friendly spirit because they are
our brothers and we want them to do well at the World Cup, but come
Saturday you will see a different outfit, ready and raring to go," he
Jamal Campbell-Ryce, who proved a real live wire on either flanks, was
pleased with his personal performance, but he was unhappy with the
"I never enjoy losing, but when I was on the ball, I enjoyed it, yeah, so it
was good. I was very disappointed to come off, because nobody ever
wants to come off as a professional footballer, but the coach made his
decision and you've got to take it on the chin. but I hope to be in the
team against England and I'll give the performance I gave today and a
little bit more and do what I am told," said the diminutive Southend player.
For Ghana's Serbian coach, Ratomir Dujkovic, who was almost sacked
after the team's poor showing at the African Cup of Nations earlier this
year, the match was "very important because we are close to the World
Cup and we need to sharpen our players".
He said he believes the team "can play better". "I liked how the team
played and the combination of every player as a team . we are much
better now," he added.
Meanwhile, skipper Stephen Appiah, who plays for Fenerbahce in the
Greek league, said the team is gaining confidence now and "our objective
is to get to the second round at least".
For star midfielder, Chelsea's Michael Essien, it is simple. "So far so good
heading to the World Cup."