The KwaZulu-Natal capital club earned a final day 1-1 draw at Baroka FC at the weekend to climb from 16th to 15th on the table by virtue of goal difference. It meant that Free State Stars were automatically relegated and United, who spent 17 weeks of the championship bottom of the table, had a second chance.
They now head into the PSL Promotion/Relegation Play-Offs where they will play against National First Division pair, Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila.
“Very, very happy to have avoided the automatic relegation but there's disappointment really to a degree," coach Eric said. "We would have liked to have avoided the play-off’s and with a win today we potentially could have done that but unfortunately that did not happen and we accept it.
“We have given ourselves a fighting chance which was my objective when I came here, so objective achieved and now we have another three weeks of hard work against the NFD teams to ensure our safety.”
Coach Eric won five times in 11 games before the draw on the final day in Limpopo which confirmed a play-off spot and miraculously moved the Pietermaritzburg side off the foot of the table for the first time since late last year.
“We come off the back of three massive results, the players responded really well but playing the NFD teams is a different ball game.You have to have a different mindset, the fear factor that I have is that you start lowering your level and you cannot afford too," coach Eric added. "You got to maintain professional standards, PSL standards and if you can do that then you can beat the NFD teams.”
The first game of the play-off round for United is as early as this Sunday the 19th of May when they host Royal Eagles at the Harry Gwala Stadium. Kick-off is at 15h00.