VANCOUVER, B.C. – The Vancouver Whitecaps may be having tough times in Major League Soccer play, but head coach Martin Rennie insists he’s faced this sort of adversity before.
His Whitecaps are now winless in seven and have won just seven matches over their last 30 games in league play.
While the Whitecaps are his first high-profile team after coaching lower-tier sides Carolina RailHawks, Cleveland City Stars and Cascade Surge, he says the added microscope at this level doesn’t equal extra pressure as the person pushing him the hardest has always been himself.
“To be honest, it’s always been challenging,” Rennie told Vancouver radio station TEAM 1410 on Monday when asked if this is the toughest spell of his managerial career. “I think with me, coaching wise, I’ve always put myself in a position of being under pressure and wanting to do well.
“Even when there was very few people following the team or it was a lower level, I felt the same way as I feel now. So I don’t think I feel any different to that. This is definitely a challenge, because it’s turning a team around that wasn’t doing well and now has done okay last season.”
In recent weeks the Scottish tactician has been criticized by elements of fans and media for juggling lineups and at times leaving underperforming stars such as Darren Mattocks and Gershon Koffie on the bench.
Rennie, for his part, has explained part of his rotation policy is simply down to the amount of games over a short spell, exacerbated by midweek Canadian Championship matches most MLS teams don’t have to deal with.
This weekend, however, he dished out some harsh words after a disappointing 2-0 loss to Real Salt Lake, and even called on his players to apologize to fans.
While he talked this weekend of “weeding out” players who lacked the requisite desire to win, he backed away from those comments a bit on Tuesday, telling MLSsoccer.com during a phone interview that he has faith the current batch of players will come good in time.
“I do think the players we’ve got here are good players,” Rennie said. “It’s just a case of making sure they all get healthy as much as they possibly can, get them out on the field and get the confidence back ... you don’t want to get too lost in [discussions about adding players], but that can happen with a little bit of emotion and hype, which we all have because we want to do well.”