No room for complacency, Palmer tells Team of Choice

2011-09-20 00:00

THEY may be flying high, undefeated in eight PSL games and above Orlando Pirates in the League, but Maritzburg United cannot afford to become complacent.

These were the comments of United coach Ian Palmer after his side’s handy 2-0 win over Golden Arrows at Harry Gwala Stadium on Sunday. “I hope they [the players] stay grounded,” the Team of Choice boss Ian Palmer told The Witness.

“They can’t afford to get too comfortable. We need to pick up as many points as possible because it becomes more difficult in the second round of fixtures.”

United are fifth on the league table and are undefeated this season.

Sunday’s match saw Palmer’s men take the lead in the first half through a Felix Obada strike before Kurt Lentjies killed the game off 11 minutes from time.

While the result was no doubt a good one for United in front of their home fans, it wasn’t all plain sailing from the coach’s perspective. “We started slowly and actually scored our goals against the run of play,” said Palmer.

“We battled to get a hold of the midfield and that allowed them to dictate a lot of the play.”

The extreme heat on the day did little to help his players, especially Sheldon Lawrence, who started the match despite suffering mild concussion from the previous fixture against Bloemfontein Celtic. Lawrence was substituted 38 minutes into the match by JB Ncubeni in a move that Palmer said was both tactically and injury-induced.

“We took a bit of a gamble on starting Sheldon after the doctors had cleared him,” said Palmer. “It looked like he hadn’t recovered fully, but he still played okay while he was on the field.”

Palmer was full of praise for United left back Rheece Evans, the PSL’s man of the match on the day.

“Rheece did his job really well. He is dealing with some of the fastest players in the league and he is showing the ability to start attacks for us as well.”

United next face Black Leopards at Polokwane’s Peter Mokaba Stadium on Saturday. They came through Sunday’s match without any new injury concerns. The same set of players that earned them their second victory of the season will be available for the trip to Polokwane.

Striker Fadlu Davids is still recovering from a fractured cheekbone and will likely be available for United’s next home match against Platinum Stars on September 28.

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