Igesund: United riding high on confidence

2008-09-30 00:00

Maritzburg United’s unbeaten start has given the team confidence for the Premier Soccer League season, says coach Gordon Igesund.

United’s 0-0 draw against Bloemfontein Celtic at the Free State Stadium on Sunday might not have been the most convincing, but the team showed character and defensive discipline to ride out some spirited attacking and remain unbeaten in three matches.

The goalless result followed a 1-1 draw away to Ajax Cape Town and 3-2 home victory over Kaizer Chiefs in Chatsworth.

United’s least convincing performance came against Celtic, but the team still came away with another creditable result.

“I have to be honest, it wasn’t the best performance and we were a little bit lucky,” Igesund said of the game.

“But I also believe you create your own luck and we did that with the effort we put in, and discipline we showed by keeping our shape under pressure.”

Igesund said he might need to go back to the drawing board after a match where United defended well, but could not quite get their passing together.

“It wasn’t a vintage performance. Actually I am quite disappointed and I might have to re-look the situation a little.

“In the second half there was a stage when we seemed to panic a bit and instead of someone putting their foot on the ball, we were kicking away possession.

“Celtic will probably feel they should have got a win out of the game.

“The crowd really got behind Celtic in the second half and they raised their performance and came at us in numbers. But it wasn’t like they were creating clearcut chances and missing open goals.”

United’s loss of direction in the second half could be put down to the team being made up of players who have barely played together.

“I don’t want to keep on harping on about it, but it was only the team’s third game together,” Igesund said. “If anyone had said at the beginning of the season that I could have one month to put together a team and then be in the top five after three games, I would have taken it.

“But we’re not getting carried away. There’s a long way to go and Sunday’s performance shows there’s still a lot of work to do. Our positive start gives the guys that confidence going forward.”

United next play AmaZulu in a KZN derby at Mpumalanga Stadium in Hammarsdale on Saturday.

Usuthu showed in a 1-0 victory over Thanda Royal Zulu on Sunday, where Clive Barker’s team could have won by a greater margin, that they should be a formidable team this season.

“There is no doubt they’re a dangerous team,” Igesund said. “I watched the tape of their game and was very impressed.

“Clive has clearly done a wonderful job. He’s an old campaigner, and he’s still got all his enthusiasm for the game.

“A KZN derby can always go either way.

“We are a team with a lot of confidence from our results, and AmaZulu will also have confidence from their performance against Thanda. So it bodes well for a good game.”

Tickets are available at Computicket, SuperSave in Retief Street and the club offices at 397 Victoria Road.

Supporters wanting transport to Hammarsdale on free buses can contact the club office at 033 392 4551.

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