Toronto FC head coach Javier Perez says he alone should take responsibility for his side’s 3-1 defeat to Inter Miami on Saturday night.
Propping up the rest of the Eastern Conference, the Reds went into the match low on confidence and it showed as they went 3-0 down inside 48 minutes with some awful defending in Florida.
Though they pulled one back via a Kieran Gibbs own goal, it wasn’t enough to salvage a result, with Toronto’s winless streak now standing at six matches with just two points gained in that time.
Speaking to reporters after the match, Perez sought to deflect criticism from his players by shouldering the blame for the lacklustre performance.
“It was a really poor game from the beginning,” said Perez (via TFC’s official website). “We give away a couple of goals – both goals they come like that. I take the blame on this one, it’s my fault. I can make excuses, but the reality is I have to point the finger at me and take the blame for the game tonight.”
Perez claimed TFC’s collapse was due to their fragile confidence, with one mistake quickly multiplying as the players started to wilt under pressure.
“At the very beginning of the game, it wasn’t bad really. We were playing in between lines,” observed Perez. “We start to have possession early on, but then we start making mistakes, losing balls that we don’t have to lose and we have to run back, that’s when we are in trouble.”
He added: “The season that we are having is taking a toll on the players,” he added. “When you get a strong setback like an early goal in the game, it’s difficult to get composure and get the team going.”
Centre back Omar Gonzalez came out in defence of his manager after the match, admitting the players lacked sharpness in what was their third game of the week.
“Times like these, the coach tries to take the blame for everything, try and protect the players, but if we are honest, if we are looking at ourselves in the mirror, how many of us can state that we were ready to play tonight?” he said. “[We] felt like we were, but then as the game went on we weren’t sharp enough.
“We gave up a turnover which led to the first goal, which we know has been killing us throughout the season. We knew we couldn’t allow that and still we allowed it to happen. And the second goal we just leave ourselves exposed and leave myself in a tough situation.
“Were enough guys, honestly, ready to go? I don’t think so or else we would have had a different first 15 minutes of the game. It’s hard to swallow. Guys are hurting.
“We are trying to get ourselves out of this situation. We are trying to dig ourselves out, but somehow we keep on digging ourselves even deeper by making these mistakes. It was a tough one tonight.”
Next up for TFC is a Rivalry Week Canadian Classique clash with CF Montreal next week before they travel to FC Cincinnati on September 11.