‘Keep a clean sheet’

2011-12-03 00:00

KEEPING a clean sheet will be the priority for Maritzburg United when they meet AmaZulu in tomorrow’s PSL fixture at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, said head coach Ian Palmer.

United suffered their fourth league defeat in five games at the hands of Free State Stars on Wednesday when they went down 2-0 in Pietermaritzburg, and Palmer said his side’s inability to score goals is becoming a real concern.

“In the second half against Stars we created chances, but we did not finish them,” said Palmer.

“It was a very tough loss to take.”

United’s goal-scoring ambitions will not be helped by the fact that striker Diyo Sibisi, who is the leading scorer for the club this season with four goals, has been ruled out of tomorrow’s match as he continues to struggle to recover from a persistent ankle injury.

The options that Palmer has as a replacement for Sibisi come in the form of veteran Fadlu Davids and rookie Renaldo Donnelly, with the former expected to be given the responsibility.

Attacking midfielder Prince Olomu came closest to ending United’s goal drought on Wednesday night, and Palmer said that the 24-year-old Nigerian will score goals if his head is in the right place.

“I told Prince that if he puts too much pressure on himself to score then he won’t score,” said Palmer.

“If he goes out there and enjoys himself and just does what he does best then the goals will come.”

Palmer praised the performance of central midfielder Michael Morton against Stars, and agreed that his players could benefit from having the same mentality as the former Orlando Pirates man.

“Michael worked alone in the midfield for the whole of the first half; he was outstanding,” said Palmer, who at half-time pulled off Morton’s midfield partner Kurt Lentjies.

“The decision to take Kurt off was performance related; he was not injured,” added Palmer.

“At the beginning of the season we had a lot of character, but it appears that some players have lost their spark.”

The coach said that he will be making changes ahead of tomorrow’s match.

“We will make changes and hopefully the guys who play will see that they need to perform to stay in the first team,” he said.

While stating that a clean sheet is of utmost importance, Palmer believes that his charges will have their fair share of attacking chances tomorrow.

“They play with a high defence and they will invite us to attack them.

“We’ve just got to keep it compact another loss will definitely not be good for the team morale.”

Tomorrow’s match kicks off at 3.30 pm.

• sport@witness.co.za

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