Maritzburg United cannot relax, says coach Middendorp

2009-12-11 00:00

MARITZBURG United’s 2-0 victory against Bloemfontein Celtic at Seisa Ramabodu Stadium on Wednesday night was one of the PMB side’s biggest wins of the season given their current situation in the Premier Soccer League.

With the teams at the bottom of the table starting to put up a fight, United needed to turn some well-structured football under new coach Middendorp into points to keep their noses in front as the PSL enters its final straight. The result saw United climb from 13th to 11th.

“It was one of those games where none of the experts expected us to win. Celtic are a powerful team and have excellent home support. And these are the situations where you have to surprise and get the big points,” Middendorp said yesterday.

“It was not just a good result but also a very good performance. No-one from the opposition can complain that they we did not deserve it.

“We played very well in the first half and had a very good strategy in the second half. After having a good match on Sunday [in a 3-1 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs] where perhaps we didn’t quite take the step we needed to, on Wednesday night we took that step.”

United’s goals came during an inspired first-half display through on-form winger Rudolf Bester in the eighth minute and new loan signing from Mamelodi Sundowns Kurt Lentjes with an excellent 37th-minute free-kick.

“There is still room for improvement, in the structure, knowing each other better and communication.

“We don’t have too much time at the moment between matches,” Middendorp said.

“But on the whole I can see the players want to listen and transfer what is happening in training to the field.

“But we have to get points because right now everyone else is picking up points.

“On the one hand the teams in front of us are just two points ahead, but the teams below us are also breathing down our necks. So we cannot relax, and I will say it again and again and again.”

Middendorp said, while the result is a huge confidence boost going into United’s fixture against Ajax Cape Town at Woodburn Stadium on Sunday, he is not sure yet what sort of team he will be able to field against the fourth-placed Capetonians.

“We got back at quarter to five this morning and at 10 am we had a training session with the players who did not travel.

I would like to see the players all together tomorrow [today] to know how we are shaping up.

“Kurt Lentjes had a dislocated shoulder and I am waiting for feedback on him. Here and there we have some knocks and muscle problems. We really made a huge investment on the physical side against Celtic.


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