Trinidad and Tobago coach Leo Beenhakker is still confident the "Warriors" can qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Germany next year, despite drawing 1-1 at home to play-off opponents Bahrain on Saturday night at the Hasely Crawford Stadium.
A sober Beenhakker was outwardly disappointed over his team's performance, but said all is not lost, and the next move is to concentrate on Wednesday's return leg.
"...We have to accept it (the result)," Beenhakker told the media following Saturday's match. "Sometimes it happens in football, not everyday is a Sunday, and well, we're going to travel now, tonight, and we're going to prepare for the next match, and in that way, it's still what I said before this match. Both teams have 50 per cent of the possibilities and the 50 per cent of our side is still there."
Acknowledging that his team played within themselves against the visitors, the Dutchman said T&T knew their previously little-known opponents would not be walkovers.
"Well, its a little bit from two sides. On one side the result was a little bit disappointing, on the other hand I can live with a draw simply because my team didn't play very well.
"We knew from the beginning that Bahrain was a tough opponent, and from the moment we knew had to play their games we talked about it and I said to my players at least you have to play on the level you played Mexico, and it was a very good match from our side apart from the result. And at least you have to play at the same level to beat them, because its not easy.
"I know that this team can play better," the former Real Madrid coach also told reporters on Saturday. "And if for whatever argument you don't play the way you can play, you're always disappointed. You're always looking for two things, a very good game, and as a result of playing and winning a match, and of course having a very good match."
While saying he would not make excuses for the team, Beenhakker attributed the team's shaky performance to big stage jitters. "That's why you are a professional. You have to play these big matches with a lot of responsibility under a lot of pressure. If you can't do it, you are not prepared for this level."
Skipper Dwight Yorke echoed his coach's sentiments, but pointed out that his team are far from out of the tie, and just need a good match in Bahrain to put themselves back on track.
"In the past we would have definitely fold under before," the Sydney FC striker asserted, "and this team is showing a lot of resilience, and I like the attitude and the response after we conceded a goal. And it's still halftime, gentlemen, this game is far from over, and again, credit to Bahrain on the day."
"We all know the away goal is very important," the "Warriors" skipper continued. "But we know we just got to go out and score. We know we have to score, we know we are capable of scoring goals like we proved tonight again, and that's all it takes. Football is two halves, we know that there's two games, and as much as we are disappointed we didn't get the result that we all expected."
"..It's up to us now, halfway through the game, to go to Bahrain and respond to them. And we know now that all we need to do is to score a goal and we're back in the hunt," Yorke said.