‘We will deny Ajax the title’

2011-05-18 00:00

MARITZBURG United manager Ian Palmer has instructed his side to go out and “spoil the party” when his team travel to Ajax Cape Town on the final day of the PSL season on Saturday.

United, safe from relegation following an impressive 3-1 victory at home to Sundowns last weekend, take on an Ajax team that will be crowned PSL champions on Saturday if they are victorious. Even a draw might not be enough for Ajax, with Orlando Pirates only two points behind the Cape Town side with a superior goal difference.

For United, victory could mean further movement up the log, and if Platinum Stars and Golden Arrows fail to win against Wits and Pirates respectively, then a win for United would consolidate a top-10 finish.

“We are looking to keep up a winning mentality,” said Palmer. “If we come away with a result on Saturday, then our last six league games show fantastic achievements, which put us in a good position for next season.”

Palmer acknowledged that Saturday will not be easy, and said United can expect to be up against an Ajax side that will be having a full go in front of their home fans at Cape Town Stadium.

“They come into the game with a lot of pressure on them,” said Palmer. “We will have to show the mental strength that comes with playing away and use the opportunity to spoil the party as motivation.”

A niggle picked up by United midfielder Kurt Lentjies was enough to sideline one of the star performers in the Sundowns game, but he will be back training with the rest of the squad today and, according to Palmer, will be fit for Saturday’s clash.

“We are lucky enough to have a fully fit squad and we have no serious injuries going into the weekend,” the coach said.

The match against Sundowns saw United remaining compact in midfield and looking to play with speed when hitting the Brazilians on the counter, and Palmer has said he will approach Saturday’s match in the same manner.

“It is different now because we have had a week-long break, which makes me a little weary,” he said. “But if we can put them on the back foot and get on the score sheet early then that will put huge pressure on them.”

United will be buoyed by the fact that when the teams met in Pietermaritzburg in a league encounter back in January, they outplayed the log leaders in what was an impressive 3-0 victory. In fact, Ajax have won only three of the encounters between the two sides dating back to the 2005/2006 season. The Urban Warriors have not been beaten at home by Maritzburg in four previous league encounters.

All PSL games take place at the same time on Saturday, kicking off at 3 pm.

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