Hallgrimsson emphasises defence, Blake
Reggae Boyz head coach, Heimir Hallgrimsson, begins his Jamaican odyssey against two-time World Cup champions Argentina tonight at 7 (Jamaica time) at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, with a major focus on defence and forging a good relationship with captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake.
Electing to start immediately with the Boyz, Hallgrimsson has spent the last two days getting to know his players as well as setting his vision and expectations - not just for the long term but for Argentina - in their first FIFA international match in three months.
Committed to keeping his game plan simple as he familiarises himself with the Reggae Boyz, Hallgrimsson has hailed Blake's impact in him getting up to speed quickly, as well as being the key part of his defensive plan to keep Argentina at bay.
"He has been really good these days, a big help for me to adjust to the group. It is a new beginning. Hopefully, he can continue to lead the group and he will be our captain tomorrow," Hallgrimsson said in his pre-match press conference yesterday.
Blake was initially left off the roster to face Argentina amid speculations that his omission was for recent criticisms of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). Hallgrimsson's first directive was to bring him back and the coach hopes Blake will play a key role in organising a defence that will be tested.
"We did a really good defensive session (Sunday) where we implemented some basic things what we need to do against Argentina, looking at the players, looking at the options, rotating them a little bit. So I have an idea on how we should play.
"The balance in attack and defence is also what we think is necessary against a team like Argentina, not to overcommit in attack and also not to overcommit in defence. So it is a delicate balance," Hallgrimsson said.
It is a balance that striker Bobby Reid hopes to see from his teammates under Hallgrimson, against Argentina and in the future, with the seeds of his vision being planted into their minds despite limited preparation time.
"It's good to be working on what the manager wants from us. It has been a short period of time but he is getting over his ideas across to us and how we are going to play. So slowly but surely we will have an identity and be able to move forward," Reid said.
Jamaica have lost all three meetings with Argentina, the latest being a 1-0 defeat in the 2015 Copa America tournament.