United ‘let in too many soft goals’

2013-12-18 00:00

AMATEURISH mistakes are what cost Maritzburg United in their 3-1 Premier League loss to Bidvest Wits at Harry Gwala on Monday night.

Clinton Larsen was left disappointed in how they conceded the goals, and said it had been a recurring theme for the club in recent weeks where they have lost five consecutive matches, and are currently on a run of six without a win.

The last time the Team of Choice collected any points was when they came up against their former mentor Ernst Middendorp in the Free State, with that game against Bloemfontein Celtic ending in a goalless draw.

“If you look at how we conceded, it was soft goals,” Larsen told The Witness yesterday.

“The first goal was a defensive header straight to a Wits player, and the second we were caught in possession inside the box.

“You don’t make amateurish mistakes as we have done. We’ve made mistakes and lost the ball in possession against SuperSport and against Platinum Stars,” said Larsen.

“We’ve given away such soft goals,” he said, also lamenting the ineffectiveness of his team’s attack in the loss to Wits.

“We’ve been creating chances without taking them in previous games. We were very blunt up front against Wits and we didn’t create enough chances last night [Monday].”

Had they been tighter at the back, he felt they could have come out with at least a point in one of the five consecutive games they have lost.

He, however, praised the impact veterans Dillon Sheppard and Orlando Smeekes had who seemed to liven the game when they came on.

Larsen denied that he pulled Mohammed Yakubu off after the break due to his height as he was dwarfed by gigantic former Bafana Bafana defender Matthew Booth.

“He wasn’t holding the ball up and his movement wasn’t helping us,” the coach said.

Currently sitting on 12 points after 14 games, and currently the worst team in the league on current form, Larsen was planning of finishing the first half of the season on 15 points, and was targeting a full house against league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.

For Friday’s game, which will be played in front of the Brazilians’ intimidating support at Loftus Versfeld, the coach will have his defensive rock Mario Booysen available to him after the big man was forced to sit out the loss to Wits as he was serving a one-game suspension.

They will, however, be missing other senior players through injury such as Delron Buckley, Peter Petersen and Ashley Hartog, while Nhlanhla Vilakazi, who has been out all season, will only return in the new year.

“We missed Buckley and Mario. Buckley scored in the game against Ajax and has been starting to find his feet. When your senior players are injured, it leaves a big void in your team,” he said.

On Friday, they face a Sundowns side who are winless in two games, but remain on top of the table despite being level on 24 points with champions Kaizer Chiefs.

• lunga.biyela@witness.co.za

@KingBiyela on Twitter

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