Arrows boss fuming after loss to Celtic

2013-12-06 00:00

IT is safe to say that Golden Arrows boss Mark Harrison was fuming at his squad following Wednesday night’s 3-0 loss away to Bloemfontein Celtic at Kaizer Sebothelo Stadium.

“In the first 45 minutes, our performance was bordering on a joke,” Harrison told The Witness yesterday. “I told them as much at half time, and the second half performance was better. But by that stage it was too late.”

Arrows conceded three soft goals in the first half through Frank Mhango, Thabo Nthethe and Vuyani Ntanga.

“We conceded a stupid goal in the first five minutes and then another stupid goal and that puts you on the back foot immediately,” said the coach. “You can’t be chasing the game from the first minute.”

Harrison had spoken before the match of his desire to see an improved defensive display from his charges, but Wednesday night’s first-half showing would have done nothing to suggest that Arrows are moving in the right direction in this regard.

The problem, according to the Englishman, is mental.

“There were too many players going through the motions. You need the majority of your side playing to their potential, and in the first half, we had nine players way off the pace,” said Harrison.

“The players need to change their mental approach to the game. It is not all about playing pretty football. We need steel. We need to win tackles, win headers and put in those 60-yard runs to track back and defend.”

In essence, Harrison expects his side to tension up and start putting their bodies on the line while showing commitment and a burning desire to win matches.

Next up for Arrows is another KwaZulu-Natal derby (they beat Maritzburg United 2-1 on November 24) against AmaZulu at King Zwelithini Stadium on December 14.

“That is another local derby, so you know already that it is going to be a scrap,” said Harrison.

“We will spend the next few days looking to get the players right mentally; to prepare them for the effort they need to put in. If we don’t do it, we’re going to fall short and could end up in a whole,” he said.

But, as eternally optimistic as a disappointed parent whose child has been led astray, Harrison knows that his charges have the ability to turn things around.

“We have put in some good performances, and the players absolutely have what it takes, there is no question about that,” he said.

Best they do it soon, because with Arrows effectively bottom of the table as Christmas approaches, time is fast running out.

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