'It's a reality that we can compete to win the league,' admits Vere United Coach DuckieSaturday, September 11, 2021
Vere United held one of the main contenders for the Jamaica Premier League, Mount Pleasant FA, to a scoreless draw last week Friday, increasing their chances of making the play-offs.
The draw saw Vere slip from first to fourth, but while sitting on 15 points, they are just one behind leaders Waterhouse Football Club, as the league remains extremely tight, with one match day to go.
Vere United boast the best defensive record in the league, conceding a mere six goals from their nine games and were able to blunt a Mount Pleasant attack that has struggled for goals this term, having scored just eight goals from nine games.
Needless to say, Vere's coach, Donovan Duckie, was pleased with the effort of his team in securing an important point against one of the “big teams” in the league.
“I am more pleased with the performance this week. We didn't start the game tentative as we did against Tivoli. We were also affected by the lockdown in terms of our training sessions a week ago. Now we have improved, we are doing some virtual work on the lockdown days, so we saw the work today bear more fruit.”
Duckie believes a change in tactical approach, as well as good tactical application by his players were significant in securing a point.
“I was very pleased with our approach to the game. They expected us to sit back in a deep block. We didn't, we stopped their build-up play. They were very uncomfortable. They didn't flow as they wanted to flow today. Kudos to us.
“We defended well. Our transition was good up until the final third. I thought we could have gotten more numbers in the final third, we didn't. But going forward we will be adding a little bit more quality to Vere and I think they could be a force to be reckoned with in the future.
“I thought we did well against a classic team. We know their background work is very good, we cannot run with them for 90 minutes but yet still, tactically, we chose our moments when we wanted to stop their build-up play.
“We allowed them to play on one side of the pitch, we took away some things from them. The guys played to instructions.”
Having downplayed the ambitions of his club for most of the season, Duckie is now opening up about what he thinks they can achieve in this shortened season.
“What is pleasing to me is that we are getting more games. The games are getting bigger, there is more pressure, because now, it's a reality that we can compete to win the league.
“We had not set that as a goal when we started, but it's a reality now that we have to accept that, yes, we can put a foot forward and see where it ends. I think the guys are up to it and we saw that in their reaction today [Friday], they were very competitive.”
The former Mount Pleasant head coach said that, while the long-term plans for the club have not changed, the achievements up to this point in the season have caused a change in focus for the 2020/2021 campaign.
“We have not diverted from our long-term goals in terms of building the project, but in terms of our short-term goals I would say, yes, we have shown that we can compete with the teams at the top level.
“This is one of the games that we were looking forward to. I thought we distinguished ourselves well and we are looking forward to better things in the future.”
Vere will end their regular season campaign against third-placed Cavalier FC, who also have 15 points. Based on the fixtures for match day 11, a draw could be enough to see both teams through to the play-offs.
— Dwayne Richards