Jamaica Observer / New FC Reno Head Coach Vassell Reynolds believes that his team is ready to stake a claim for a spot in the top six of the Red Stripe Premier League (RSPL). That would certainly give them a chance to make an assault on the league title when the play-off rounds begin.
Since taking over at the turn of the year, Reynolds has been able to get the buy-in from his players on “defence first”, and this has certainly stopped the haemorrhaging they were experiencing before.
“My philosophy, in terms of getting the foundation defensively first, most definitely will get you to win championships, and that is what I would have imparted to the team over the past six, seven weeks and they would have caught on to that,” he explained.
The work has begun at the other end of the pitch and it is beginning to pay off there as well. We have solidified our position in terms of our defensive work, so we started paying a lot of attention in the final third, but we are still relying now on our counter-attacks,” Reynolds revealed.
The instructions are simple and the rewards are already coming as evidenced by a very important 2-0 away win over the The University of the West Indies (UWI) FC on Sunday.
“I just asked the team to get a goal or two per game and we will win with that. We have been getting some good results away and the UWI team is one of the teams that we would have targeted to get three points from, because they are one of the teams that is competing with us for the top six. We figured that with the performances away from home that we have been having, why not coming here and approaching the game on a positive note in terms of counter-attacking with numbers, and we did that today and thankfully we got three points,” noted Reynolds.
The win on Sunday lifted Reno to 36 points and fifth place in the league, but with 10th-placed Humble Lion only six behind on 30 points and also with a game in hand.
Reynold knows that there is no time to rest.
“We want to get our better players fresh for the last four, five games. We figured that it is going to come down to the wire and hopefully we can manage the players like we are doing now… for the last couple of games,” he said.
The outstanding tactician that he is, Reynolds says that he takes each opponent at their own merit and prepares accordingly.
“Careful management and planning in terms of going into games… every game we figure is a different game, so we look at our opponents and we play to our strengths and we identify the weakness of our opponents, and we sit down and discuss it well,” he explained.
The defensive solidity now being demonstrated by his team is quite pleasing for the Reno head coach.
“They have bought into my concept — defence first and then attack — and we are doing that well. One of the things that I noticed when I came in is that we were conceding a lot of goals.
“We did some work there and nullify a lot of teams, and I told the team I wanted them to make it to be very difficult to be beaten by any other team and that we have been doing now,” Reynolds outlined.
For the past few seasons Reno have flirted with getting into the play-offs before falling away at the crucial time. The man who now leads things at the Westmoreland-based club is convinced that things will change this term.
“The good thing about the Reno team now is that we are advancing. We are going up, instead of in the former years at this stage we falling off steadily. So we are going in the right direction now, and hopefully we can continue the work and continue in the right direction,” Reynolds ended.
His record since taking over at the club after nine games stands at three wins, one loss and five draws.