Larsen happy with players’ adaptation

2013-10-19 00:00

NEW Maritzburg United coach Clinton Larsen was yesterday happy with how his players had responded to the changes he has implemented to their game.

The attack-minded Larsen was busy trying to change the team’s style of play from the defensive Ernst Middendorp era and the coach had identified three areas he needed to work on.

“We have identified a few areas,” Larsen told Weekend Witness after their training friendly game against Maritzburg City yesterday morning.

“We have been working on a lot of building up from defence, being a lot more attack-minded once we enter the opponent’s half and keeping the ball for longer spells,” Larsen, who earlier in the week promised to play a more attractive brand of football, said.

The Team of Choice have mainly played a defensive game this season, which chairman Farook Kadodia felt was keeping fans away from Harry Gwala Stadium on game day.

The results were beginning to show for Larsen as he prepared his team for a Titanic tussle against league leaders Supersport United next Wednesday.

“I’ve only been here for three days, but I’m very happy with the response I’ve received from the players. We’re changing one or two things, and I’m happy to see them executing them,” the coach said after a friendly against Maritzburg City, which they won 8-1.

Despite a number of players having just returned from injury, Larsen was confident about their chances to “knock Supersport from their pedestal”.

“We’ve been getting a lot of players back from injury, and I’m very happy with the squad that I’m working with … We’re not at full strength, but we’ll be competitive and we’ll be ready to give them a competitive match,” Larsen said.

With a few of the club’s youngsters not able to train with the squad in the mornings, Larsen said they were still looking at them in afternoon training sessions.

“It’s great to have young kids in the squad, and I’ve never been afraid to bring youngsters into the team,” he said.

Meanwhile, chairman Kadodia has accused former coach Middendorp of being “unprofessional”.

During the week, it was reported that the chances of Middendorp working with current Bloem Celtic assistant Boebie Solomons were slim, and that the German preferred to work with someone he had worked with before.

When asked if assistant coach Fadlu Davids had been approached, United chairman Kadodia said an offer had been made to the club’s former captain.

“An unprofessional approach was made by Middendorp to poach Davids behind the club’s back. But, he declined because he said he is committed to the club and he loves Maritzburg,” said Kadodia.

But Middendorp refused to be drawn into the matter, saying “I’m not answering that bullsh*t,” before referring Weekend Witness to his agent and lawyer Steven Kapeluschnik.

Kapeluschnik said: “He worked with Fadlu and they had a good relationship. He asked Fadlu when his contract finished, and he said at the end of the season, and he told him to honour it. He never tried to take him. He acted professionally at all times.”

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