COACH ERNST ‘PROUD OF WHAT EVERYONE CONTRIBUTED’
7 June 2021
There was a sigh of relief for everyone involved with Maritzburg United when the club secured their Premiership status with a 0-0 draw against AmaZulu at the Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday.
In the final DStv Premiership match of a testing, Covid-19 impacted season, the Team of Choice grafted hard for the point which ensured there was no way they could be sucked into the promotion-relegation play-offs, something which had looked a real possibility around the turn of this year.
“I know where we started at the beginning of December. Six games, zero points, Eight games, two out of 24 (points). Half of the season, 15 games, nine points. And we have now 30 points,” a relieved coach Ernst said after the Usuthu stalemate.
While it would have been good to end the season on a high with a KwaZulu-Natal derby win, the priority was to get the single point which would have been enough to avoid the promotion-relegation play-offs, no matter what the other results on Saturday.
And against an on-form AmaZulu side, that was going to take some doing, making Maritzburg’s defensive tactics fully justifiable on the day.
“Our defence line was built up by four centre-backs. Not going out, not opening the space. A very clear understanding, co-operating with the double six (two defensive midfielders),” the head coach elaborated in terms of Saturday’s game-plan.
“The majority of preparation for the game was directed to compactness, to support each other, to cover each other. Not allowing gaps in the final third, in the box.
“And hoping with the set plays or the counter that the opponent makes a mistake. We had two or three possibilities, a bit more cleverness going into the final third, we could have scored and really used it to bring the surprise result.
“But on the other side AmaZulu have qualified for the Champions League, a huge achievement. The dominance was over the 95 minutes on the side of AmaZulu, but in the end we have 0-0, from the defensive work, the work ethic,” the Germany-born tactician continued.
“It’s unbelievable what we have achieved. We have not qualified for Champions League, not being the champion, not winning a cup.
“But losing at home in the last game of the first half of the season, being rock bottom, but then going very clear through – securing the PSL status without playing in the relegation play-offs….Therefore very proud of what the guys achieved, everybody who contributed.”
* MARITZBURG UNITED'S OFFICIAL SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS WILL PROVIDE FURTHER NEWS UPDATES, PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE