United coach takes heart from player’s admission after loss

2009-10-06 00:00

THE words of one of his own players following Maritzburg United’s 5-1 thrashing at home to Mamelodi Sundowns at Woodburn Stadium on Friday night have provided the biggest positive to come out of a very disappointing result for coach Gordon Igesund.

United dominated the first half to score via Noah Chivuta’s 25th minute penalty for a 1-0 lead at half-time.

But two goals from defensive mistakes just after the break led to a meltdown as dangerous Sundowns went into full flow for the first time this season and surged all over United.

But Igesund is taking it as a big positive — and an indication of the good spirit in his team — that right-back Peter Petersen went public and said the players should ultimately accept responsibility for an embarrassing defeat.

Petersen told Soccerladuma.com yesterday: “It was one of those games. It will be fixed, I promise.

“We let Gordon and our supporters down big time. We lost because of silly individual mistakes.

“It was painful to leave the field having lost by such a huge margin, but it won’t happen again. We’ve sorted things out among ourselves.”

Igesund said last night: “Obviously we wanted to keep playing the way we were in the first half, keep possession and play the ball on the ground.

“Instead, after making two silly errors, we started to panic and play the long ball, which played right into a quality side like Sundowns’ hands.

“After their second goal, unfortunately, we did fall to pieces, we lost our shape, we were giving the ball away and backing off instead of marking tightly.”

Igesund said he has “a lot of respect” for Petersen for saying the players should accept responsibility.

“I think it’s very important for a team when the players can stand up and accept they made mistakes, especially since I’ve been at a lot of teams where the players want to blame each other or the coach.

“The players know what we did as a team in training and what we worked at. It makes a coach feel very proud when one of the players says what Peter did.

“And it shows what sort of team spirit there is in a team where the players were so obviously working so hard for each other in each game.

“What’s very pleasing is that he said it will never happen again and the players have sorted it out among themselves, which makes my job so much easier. To me that’s a big positive to come out of this game.”

Igesund said he hopes United’s fans see the result, and a 4-2 defeat to Bloemfontein Celtic with 10 men in their previous game at Woodburn, as hiccups in an otherwise promising start to the season.

“What was most disappointing about the two games was that the people of Maritzburg were behind us and you want to say to them, ‘Keep supporting us’.

“The supporters have been fantastic and they deserve better from us. We can’t let this result affect the players and we have to sort out our home form.

“We’ve got Swallows away in two weeks, then three home games against mid-to-lower-table opposition in Jomo Cosmos, Mpumalanga Black Aces and Free State Stars where we can rebuild our form at Woodburn,” said the optimistic coach.

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