‘Desperate to win, but no need to panic’

2011-10-21 00:00

MARITZBURG United are desperate for a victory in tonight’s Telkom Knockout first round affair against Santos in Cape Town, says head coach Ian Palmer.

The match, which kicks off at 8 pm at Athlone Stadium, is an opportunity for United to prove that last Friday’s 7-0 defeat at the hands of SuperSport United is no reason for alarm just yet.

“We are going there to give a good account of ourselves but, more importantly, to get a result,” last month’s PSL coach of the month said.

“We want to get the players’ confidence back up to where it was before the SuperSport game.”

Palmer has a fit squad of players at his disposal, with winger Felix Obada the only slight injury concern after spraining an ankle at training this week.

Youngsters Morné Davids and Ayanda Ndlovu are joining the travelling squad for the first time this season. Ndlovu has been touted as an exceptional talent by club chairperson Farouk Kadodia and the midfielder will be eager to impress if given the opportunity.

The form of United striker Diyo Sibisi is a concern for Palmer.

“It is a worry that he has not been scoring,” conceded Palmer. “But if your striker is not scoring then you need to find goals from elsewhere. We cannot rely on one player.”

Palmer added he is not sure how Santos will set up, considering the sides meet in Cape Town again in a League encounter next week. “… they might play a watered down side because we feel that the League will be more important to them,” he said. “They might want good continuity leading up to the League game, which could mean that they play their first team. It is difficult to say.”

After last weekend’s defeat, not many would argue if Palmer was to drastically change his starting line-up for tonight.

But the coach feels no need to panic.

“I don’t want to make irrational, wholesale changes, there is no need for that,” he said. “We might change one or two things — maybe in the middle of the park — but we will keep things fundamentally the same.”

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