close
close

CF Montreal manager Gabriel Gervais expects more from his players

CF Montreal manager Gabriel Gervais expects more from his players
CF Montreal manager Gabriel Gervais expects more from his players

MONTREAL — Gabriel Gervais has equipped himself with the tools to help CF Montreal climb the rankings, but he believes the players must also do their part.

MONTREAL — Gabriel Gervais has equipped himself with the tools to help CF Montreal climb the rankings, but he believes the players must also do their part.

The club’s president and CEO said his team has been a bit unlucky with their 5-9-8 record this season, but he puts the onus on the players to improve their consistency.

“There needs to be a serious awareness, both individually and collectively, to find more consistency,” Gervais said Wednesday during his mid-season press conference at the Centre Nutrilait, Montreal’s training centre.

“There is currently a lot of turnover in our squad, but we are not completely confident that all players will deliver the performances we expect from them.”

Montreal currently sits in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, one point out of a playoff spot. However, the club has the fourth-worst defense in Major League Soccer with 46 goals against.

Montreal has squandered a few leads this season, notably against Chicago Fire, Inter Miami CF and New York Red Bulls, dropping a number of points that could have moved them higher up the standings.

It would be easy to blame first-year coach Laurent Courtois, but Gervais believes the problem runs deeper.

“We can practice everything in training, but it comes down to the determination of the players not to concede goals,” he said. “We haven’t had consistent performances from the players.”

“I am very happy with Laurent’s overall work and I have confidence in him,” he added. “Now we need a higher level of concentration to avoid losing these games. We are not that far away, but it comes down to the small details.”

Montreal hit a major slump in May, winning just one game in eight, including a home loss in the Canadian Championship to Forge FC of the Canadian Premier League. Numerous injuries and the departure of sporting director Olivier Renard may not have helped.

Since then, Montreal has improved its game and hasn’t lost at home. It’s a step in the right direction, and on Tuesday Gervais added longtime MLS executive Corey Wray as an advisor to his coaching staff to help assess the club’s needs.

In the coming months, Wray will work with Gervais and his staff as a strategic sports advisor. In his 18 seasons in MLS, Wray has won three MLS Cups and one Supporters’ Shield. As general manager of Columbus Crew 2, he won the MLS Next Pro championship — with Courtois as head coach.

“The transfer window will open soon. We want to strengthen our squad with the right profiles that fit the style of play that Laurent wants to implement. Corey will help us target those profiles,” Gervais said. “He has a lot of experience in developing young players in MLS and has a lot of contacts. We share the same philosophy.”

Gervais indicated that he has met all the players and had frank discussions with them. He said that the aim now will be to differentiate between those who want to be part of the project and those who want to leave.

“This is important. If a player comes here and doesn’t have the will to commit to the project, we will see if we can move him. Whether it’s now or at the end of the year,” he said. “We have already started talks because the transfer window is approaching very quickly. We are considering all possibilities, including loans, buyouts or swaps.

“We want to improve the team in the short term without compromising or neglecting our philosophy.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 10, 2024.

Simon Servant, The Canadian Press