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Trinidad and Tobago's Duane Muckette on the ball during a 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup match against El Salvador at Toyota Stadium, Frisco, TX on Wednesday, July 14th 2021.

INTERIM coach of the Trinidad and Tobago men’s football team Angus Eve said on Thursday morning that he was disappointed by his team’s 2-0 defeat against El Salvador on Wednesday, in their second Concacaf Gold Cup Group A encounter, at the Toyota Stadium, Frisco, Texas, United States.

The result leaves T&T in third spot on the four-team group with one point (following their goalless draw against Mexico last Saturday).

El Salvador guaranteed a place in the last eight, since they have six points from two games, while Mexico are in second place with four points. Mexico whipped Guatemala 3-0 on Wednesday.

The final matches in the group will be contested on Sunday, with T&T facing cellar-placed Guatemala and Mexico opposing El Salvador.

In a Zoom media conference with members of the T&T media, Eve said, “I’m disappointed in the result obviously, but I think a lot of encouragement in the performance of the team, playing against one of the teams who would have qualified proper for the Gold Cup and probably fresher than us.”

The former T&T captain and midfielder continued, “In the first half, it showed. I thought a much-improved performance in the second half but probably we deserved to get a little bit more out of the game. It augurs well for the work we’ve been doing in a very short space of time. It’s encouragement for the future.”

Security around the T&T team in Texas was beefed up after the players and technical staff received death threats and racist attacks, after the Mexico fixture.

“We try to keep them as comfortable as possible,” Eve said. “We had no security when we came here (in the US), except when we were going to the games. Now it’s very visible around them. We have a private detail in the hotel because the threats were that bad.”

The T&T coach continued, “I don’t know if that played a part in the players’ mental, hence the reason why we may have started a bit slow (on Wednesday). It has taken some adjusting to. “If somebody is threatening your life and calling your family back home, it’s unfortunate that this had to happen. We’re not going to make than an excuse for anything.” Eve made seven changes to his starting line-up for the El Salvador game, including recalling regular starters Kevin Molino (captain), fellow midfielder Neveal Hackshaw and goalkeeper Nicklas Frenderup. According to the T&T tactician, “We know that a lot of our players have not been playing for a very long time. We just had three weeks to put this group (of players) together. We knew that against Mexico we had to be resolute, and we were trying to get something out of the game which we did. We know that, in the other games, we’ll want to express ourselves a bit more.”

Eve said his players were quiet and equally disappointed after the 2-0 defeat on Wednesday.

“They believed they gave everything that they had. We can’t fault any of the players for the effort that they had given. The dressing room was quiet, you could hear a pin drop.” Looking ahead to the Guatemala game, Eve said, “We have the same mindset. Coming into this tournament, our particular goal was to try and get into the group stage. Coming out of a failed World Cup campaign, we thought realistically what we had to do is to improve the performances of the team.

“We’re basically using this tournament as a trial for our players,” he added. “To think that we can come and dominate teams who are (still) in the World Cup (qualifiers) and, without the likes of Sheldon Bateau and Levi Garcia, we think, so far, it is a good showing, to keep our ambition realistic. We would try to do something in the next game.”

SOURCE: T&T Newsday