‘Discipline problem? Not at United’

2012-12-18 00:00

MARITZBURG United coach Ernst Middendorp remains adamant that there is not a discipline problem within his squad, despite having four personnel (two players and two members of the technical team) sent off in United’s last three PSL matches.

The latest came on Friday night when holding midfielder Ruben Cloete was sent off in the 50th minute for a studs-up challenge on Orlando Pirates’ Thandani Ntshumayelo, and Middendorp was far from happy with the decision.

“I refuse to blame any of my players. I am not blaming anyone. We have our game plan and things are not going well at the moment, but we do not have a discipline problem,” the coach said forcefully. “I saw it several times on the weekend where there is no consistency in the refereeing. That decision was too harsh.”

At 1-0 down when Cloete was sent off, Middendorp was encouraged by the fact that his side managed to stay alive in the fixture, with the eventual final score being 2-1 in favour of the Soweto giants.

“Of course, but it is not only the score, it was the performance,” he said. “I am very happy with the way we played the ball from the back and now we are just looking for a bit more drive in that final third. That is all I am concerned about now.”

Tonight sees United host University of Pretoria at Harry Gwala stadium in their final game of 2012 before the extended break for next year’s 2013 Afcon tournament.

And while it would seem imperative for United to get something from the match considering that they have now lost three in a row, Middendorp refuses to place any extra pressure on his players by hyping up the clash.

“Why is this match more crucial? Why is it more crucial than Ajax or Pirates? We just need to keep doing what we’re doing, maybe pull our socks up a little bit, and then the result will come.”

Tonight’s clash kicks off at 7.30 and will be televised on SABC1.

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