For Wilfried Nancy, the return to health of Romell Quioto and Mason Toye is equivalent to the acquisition of two new forwards.
Posted at 4:53 p.m.
“We recruited two new players, Romell and Mason,” replied the head coach of CF Montreal by videoconference, Thursday, when asked about the offensive qualities of his team. They will be able to help us score goals. »
Their absences at the end of the season had significantly reduced the club’s chances of qualifying for the MLS playoffs in 2021.
I’m not hiding from you that if we had had slightly more experienced players, we would have made the playoffs. We lost a lot of points where we could have done better.
Wilfried Nancy, head coach of CF Montreal
“We mustn’t forget that we played quite a bit without real attackers,” he adds. We have other players too, but as pure attackers, these are the players. »
Quioto is in training at the Olympic Stadium, while Toye has to go through MLS’s COVID-19 protocol, as have Ahmed Hamdi, Bjørn Johnsen and Róbert Orri Thorkelsson. It’s unclear when, exactly, these players will join the team.
Speaking of COVID-19, Wilfried Nancy revealed on Thursday that he caught the virus during the offseason.
“It went well,” he reassures. I haven’t had too many symptoms. »
« I can’t wait for it to explode »
On the other side of the field, there are questions, but above all hope. That’s what happens when a defensive stalwart like Rudy Camacho leaves, but a young leader like Alistair Johnston arrives.
The 23-year-old Canadian international defender “interested” Nancy because he can play in two positions.
“He can give me the flexibility to play in a defense with three or four, believes the head coach. We know his strengths. Defensively, in MLS, he was one of the best players.
“Offensively, Zack [Brault-Guillard] uses its power a lot. Alistair has power, yes, but he has a different game. He is not a player who will always overflow. He can build too, in a way. »
Wilfried Nancy had noticed his qualities when he played in Nashville. He salutes the work of his sports director Olivier Renard and his staff for his acquisition.
» [Je souhaitais] having him because he was in a team that likes to defend. It will reflect on the team. He has natural leadership. »
And already, Johnston incorporates his coach’s instructions into his game. The latter appreciates.
“What I really liked about him was that he was able to put into practice what I suggested to him, not because he had to do it, but because he felt that was a good option. »
I can’t wait for him to have fun on the pitch and to progress, above all, because he has a very large margin of improvement.
Wilfried Nancy, about Alistair Johnston
And he can do it with a Kamal Miller, fellow Canadian and colleague in defense, who arrives in excellent conditions, according to Wilfried Nancy. The head coach even derives “pride” from it.
“It’s funny that we talk about that, he admits. That’s why I do this job, I’m proud of that, I hope I’ll continue to do so for a long time. When I see Kamal arrive, last year, and when I see Kamal today, the way he starts training, we see that there has been work done. We see that he appreciates and likes the way we play. »
He does not yet know who will be able to replace Camacho’s leadership and importance at the bulwarks of the team. But Miller is an obvious candidate.
“My objective is to find the player who will join the project. I’m not looking for another Rudy Camacho. I’m looking for a player who will help the team to defend well and raise well from behind. »