Going into Wednesday’s match at the Harry Gwala Stadium against Matsatsantsa on the back of Sunday’s Telkom Knockout semi-final win over Kaizer Chiefs, the Team of Choice were unable to create the same kind of intensity and energy.
Coach Eric refused to blame it on fatigue – pointing out that’s it normal for professional teams to play games in quick succession . Rather, he felt his men were lacking in application on the night.
“We were poor to be brutally honest and didn’t deserve to collect the points. Over the 90 minutes we didn’t create enough in the final third, I don’t think we played at the right intensity. Three massive points lost at home unfortunately,” he lamented.
“We need to win our home games, we can’t allow teams to come here and dictate play like that. Especially in that first half. We reacted better in the second half, but our first half performance was simply not good enough.
“When they scored the goal (the opening goal in the 12th minute) then they became defensive, before that they weren’t. Eventually they left the one (player) up and everyone was behind the ball.
“But you’ve got to find the solutions, find the pockets, you’ve got to keep moving the defenders in order to create the spaces,” the coach explained.
“We spoke about that at half time and in the second half we did get slightly better. We did start to penetrate a little bit more, we did start to get better opportunities in the second half. But you’re chasing the game at that stage and what you want is a better performance from the first whistle.”
There’s little time now for the Maritzburg players to lick their wounds – a positive response is needed for Sunday’s KZN derby showdown with AmaZulu in Umlazi.
“We’ve got to roll up our sleeves and keep going. This one we’ve got to take on the chin, hopefully it brings everybody back to the ground,” coach Eric stated.
“The league is so compact, so tight, every game is a tough game, a must-win game. Every game you’ve got to go in with a professional mindset, according to what we’ve been working on throughout the season tactically. Physically you’ve got to give everything in order to get the results.”