Harbour View’s shock 1-0 defeat to newly-promoted Benfica at their Harbour View Mini Stadium home ground on Sunday in the Digicel Premier League sent shock waves across the league and also sank the defending champions to seventh place in the 12-team competition.
The east Kingston-based team has already lost four of their opening nine matches and has a mere 13 points to show for their efforts; hardly the start one would expect from one of the most successful teams in the country.
However, poor starts are nothing new to Harbour View. In fact, at this stage of last year’s championship-winning campaign, the Donovan Hayles-coached outfit had only chalked up three more points compared to this season’s tally. They were, however, undefeated at this stage and went on to close the round on 22 points and place third.
Hayles is, however, far from being perturbed about his team’s stuttering start, and claims to be focusing on the bigger picture of topping the table at the end of the 38 rounds of matches.
“This isn’t the first time I am losing, so I’m not overly bothered by it. We don’t view the situation as anything to hang our heads over. We have our eyes set on the bigger goal and we have a very long way to go, so we aren’t worried,” Hayles said.
The coach was also quick to highlight the work done by Benfica, applauding their counter-attacking play and defensive discipline.
“First of all we must give Benfica credit. I think they played very well on the counter. We dominated the game but were unable to crack their defensive line,” said Hayles.
“Benfica are a quality team, they have won some games and have lost some by a close margin, so that tells that they can play,” Hayles pointed out. “They are only new in terms of the club being in the league, but there are quite a few players who are well accustomed to the Premier League and are able to create some damage. It’s only a pity that it happened against us.”
Despite the setback, Hayles is confident that his team will bounce back. He also criticised his team’s lack of consistency.
“For me, the consistency is the key thing. We have been winning games and then coming back to lose. We have to start winning on a consistent basis, and that is something that we will have to work on,” said Hayles. “We want to finish off this round with two wins, and that is what we will be working towards.”