Manchester Futsal couldn’t find an end to their poor run of form as they fell to a 2-1 defeat at home to London Helvecia.
Prior to the game, manager Sergi Saldana admitted his team were going through a transitional phase and that they’d look to implement a new strategy for the visit of the reigning champions.
Helvecia came into the game on the back of a 3-1 win away to Loughborough and that showed as they started in confident mood. Russell Goldtsein saw two early efforts blocked by Manchester players, which much set the tone of the day.
Manchester were determined in their defending and were becoming hard for Helvecia to break down. However, once the visitors found their way through they were met by Pinto who produced a string of fantastic saves to keep them out.
The host began to grow into the game and could have gone ahead five minutes before the interval. Vinas broke through on the right only to see his prodded effort tipped onto the post by Sim’s in the Helvecia goal.
Goalkeeper Pinto continued his fine form in the second half as he denied London Helvecia captain Medina from close range, to keep the scores level.
Manchester took one of their few chances to put themselves in the lead. Vinas nicked the ball off Cook’s toes on halfway before bursting through and squaring it into the path of Garcia to slot home on 27 minutes.
The visitors found a way back into the game in fortunate circumstances. The ball ricocheted around in the area, eventually finding its way into the net via a deflection from the returning Danny Stapleton.
Both sides then pushed forward in search of three points but it was London Helvecia who took advantage. Lucas Totti found the bottom left corner from distance to make it five games without a win for Manchester.
Manager Sergi Saldana had this to say at full time, “We are playing better than in previous parts of the season. It is a different system but the players have to believe in what we are trying to do. We spent most of the game defending, but we need to do more when we get the ball.”
Sergi continued, “London Helvecia pressed very well and they have some very good players, but we also have good players. The main thing is we need to try and believe in the system.”
Sergi then went on to add, “I spoke to Sam Richardson during the week and we identified that scoring goals is one of our main problems. If you look at the league we’ve got one of the best defensive records – but we need to be scoring ourselves. It is a positive to only concede two to a team 2nd in the league but at the end of day if we are defending more we need to do much better when we get chances.”
Sergi finished by saying, “If the players perform with this kind of intensity against other teams in the league then we will start to pick up results.”
Manchester Futsal captain Sam Richardson gave his thoughts on the new system, “As player this isn’t a system I am used to, so it is interesting to see how you can apply it. We have a new group of players this year so we are trying to learn a new system and learn each other’s game too.”
Sam echoed Sergi’s thoughts on the players needing to trust the new way of playing, “We have only just reset and come back with the new system so it is going to take time. Today we struggled because they (London Helvecia) came out and pressed us, however we didn’t have as much trust in the system, or each other. Hopefully, in a couple of games time that’ll come and it will be better.”