Dos Santos bullish on MBU’s second-round chances
TUCKER, St James — Neider dos Santos, the head coach of Montego Bay United (MBU), is confident his team will qualify for the Wray & Nephew Jamaica Premier League (JPL) play-offs, and says he is eagerly looking forward to the start of the second round.
Montego Bay United have been bolstered by the signing of seven players and with a number of others coming off injury layoffs or getting into match readiness, dos Santos expects his team to step up in the second round.
Among the signings are national player Jourdaine Fletcher, former national player Owayne Gordon, Courtney Allen, who started the season with Harbour View FC. They have also signed Trinidad and Tobago national players Josiah Trimmingham, who is a defender, and midfielder Darnell Hospedales, as well as St Lucian Gregson President.
The new additions join the likes of Brian Brown, and national Under-20 invitees Leo Campbell and Deonjay Brown.
MBU are in 10th place on 15 points, the same as ninth-placed Harbour View. Both teams are six points off the last play-off spot.
“I’m not quite satisfied, I think we threw away in the first round a lot of points because of our lack of capacity to put the ball in the back on the net from the scoring situations we created,” dos Santos told the Jamaica Observer on Thursday.
“We created situations but we we did not score, so this was kind of disappointing. I think if we had scored half of the opportunities we created we would have been at least eight points ahead, at least. But it is what it is, we cannot change and now for the second round we have strengthened the team with some very experienced good players and we will do a better performance and the better results for the second round,” he said.
The MBU coach says he expects the new players to bring balance to the team as well as “experience and real quality.”
With the addition of Fletcher and Gordon, he said: “First of all, they bring experience, second of all, quality, football quality. Fletcher has played in Europe, Gordon has played in the US. He [Gordon] is my former player. Yes, I was one of the first coaches to coach him in the Premier League.
“They bring quality and this in that part of the team were we are lacking, its going to be very important because here is where we lacking — putting the ball in the back of the net.”
He said he expects the international players to have immediate roles.
“Hospedales is a left full back, but he can play also holding midfield and he can play also as a central defender, so he’s already here and we have two more foreigners to come. One is a central defender and the St Lucian is an attacking midfielder and they are national players.”
Allen, who has played for MBU before, also brings something to the team as well as Daniel Reed.
“He [Reed] was out for one year, but he has qualities and he was a little bit out of shape, a little bit overweight, but he’s working on it. I believe by the end of this month he will be fully ready.”
The new additions, the coach said, would free up Brazilian Lucas Lima who came into the team at the start of the season, to play his preferred position in midfield.
“Lucas is originally a number six, holding midfield, but because of our problems at the back, I decided to bring him to central defender and he did a fantastic work. The matches he played, I don’t remember a single mistake done by him. But then in the last, I think, three matches of the round, I was looking for better quality in the organisation of the midfield, so I pushed him back to number six and we did a fantastic job, he made a big difference,” he said.
Despite concerns with allowing 22 goals from 13 games with only two ‘clean sheets’, dos Santos said they will be a “different side” in the second round.
He said they will have depth all around.
“I am not talking about the starting 11, but as a squad, because the bench is very important. We could see that in a match against Mount Pleasant when we played a very good game. For me, we played better than them and we deserved to win. But then they start to bring fresh players in and we did not have that capacity and that makes a big impact in the game,” he explained
In defence, he said, they must do better and said the players coming in will help.
“They will help us to improve that quality at the back. We cannot keep giving up goals, and I’m pretty confident that we’re going to fix that also, [fix] both ends of the pitch. So the striking line and the defence, we can’t concede goals like that,” dos Santos said.