Larsen pleased with United’s performance against AmaZulu

2013-10-29 00:00

MARITZBURG United coach Clinton Larsen was pleased with the performance of his team as they beat KwaZulu-Natal rivals AmaZulu 2-0 in their Premiership match played in Durban on Sunday.

Larsen was particularly pleased with Shu-Aib Walters, his goalkeeper and stand-in captain on the day, who made a number of saves that kept scores level, as Usuthu seemed to have the upper hand in the first 45 minutes of the game.

It was not just the keeper, but the entire back four that left the coach pleased. The centre back pairing of Mario Booysen and Mohammed Awal was impenetrable, with fullbacks Thabang Matuka and Rheece Evans offering some attacking options.

The coach said the performance against their rivals from Durban was similar to that against SuperSport United.

“[Like the SuperSport game] we created a lot of chances, and for a coach, that is very pleasing,” Larsen told The Witness yesterday.

“We caused them a lot of problems in attack, although there could be an improvement made in the final third,” he said, added it was great to claim the three points.

Thamsanqa Mkhize came into the side in the place of skipper Michael Morton, who was serving a one-match suspension. He was one of the players the coach singled out for special praise, along with forward Thokozani Sekotlong, who was named man of the match.

“Thokozani and Thamsanqa were outstanding. There were others also and I don’t like singling out just a few players … Michael’s [Morton] energy was missed. That is what he brings into the team. But the performance showed that we have depth in that position.

“Bandile [Shandu] also showed that he will be a star of the future. Every player is letting me know just what they are about,” he said.

United’s next Premier League match is on Sunday against Larsen’s former team Bloemfontein Celtic, coached by his predecessor, Ernst Middenorp. The coach said they had a few things to work on ahead of the encounter.

The coach felt that striker Mohammed Yakubu, who missed two chances in stoppage time after finding space in the box, needed to work on his decision making, and said that, in general, the conversion rate in the PSL was low.

“We’ll try work on that, and not only our strikers, but midfielders and wingers also chipping in with goals from time to time.”

When asked by The Witness what his thoughts were on facing his successor and predecessor, he said: “This is not about Middendorp and Larsen. It’s about Celtic and Maritzburg, and there will be no loyalties from me to Celtic.

“I’ll do everything in my power to ensure that we win the game,” he said.

Larsen was also pleased with the number of players returning from injury and felt that they would strengthen the team.

“We’ve been hard hit by injuries this season, but I’m not here to make excuses,” he said, adding that players have put their hands up during the injury crisis.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

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