New coach prepares United for champions

2009-11-20 00:00

WHEN you’re playing the champions you have to be well prepared, says Maritzburg United coach Ernst Middendorp. And that is what the new United boss has been working on in the limited time he has had ahead of tomorrow’s Premier Soccer League game against SuperSport United at the Super Stadium.

Former Kaizer Chiefs and Arminia Bielefeld coach Middendorp joined United on Monday following the departure of Gordon Igesund last week and couldn’t have asked for a much tougher first outing than against twice defending champions SuperSport.

The new United coach said he has worked on defence and the understanding with his new players in his first week in charge.

“We’ve been working on the details, and the things I think are important to improve, such as the defending and the free-kicks; how to work as a compact unit,” Middendorp said yesterday.

“I’m not dealing in the past and at this moment I think it’s important to work on getting the right understanding from the players about what I want from them. It’s probably been a bit different from what they are used to, but that’s the same all over the world.

“And of course we’ve been busy getting to know SuperSport. When you are playing the champions you have to be well prepared.”

Gavin Hunt’s superbly-drilled SuperSport are on top of the log again and favourites for a third successive title.

“It’s the right moment for them now,” Middendorp said. “Every player knows when to pass to the right or left fullback when they are making a run.

“When you make a mistake they go straight to the counter-attack, and then of course they have the quality of Daine Klate, Anthony Laffor and Glen Salmon at the front. They know exactly what everybody has to do and that’s what makes it so difficult to face them. That’s why we have to work on not making too many mistakes.

“It’s a tough game and that’s why everybody in our side has to do the right thing.”

United CEO Afzal Khan said United will not be looking to make wholesale signings now that the transfer window has opened.

“We’ll be guided by Ernst on what he feels he can add to the squad,” Khan said. “He has indicated he could use another centre-back to add depth to the defence.”

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