Absa Premiership

Middendorp: Chiefs deserve this moment

Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)
Ernst Middendorp (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp hailed his team's strong mentality after beating Orlando Pirates in the Soweto derby on Saturday afternoon.

The Glamour Boys came into the clash at FNB Stadium with a six-point lead at the top of the Absa Premiership standings, which was at risk of being halved by their bitter rivals.

The pressure continued to mount on Amakhosi in the lead up to the clash but they kept their composure when it mattered and were able to pull off a 1-0 win thanks to a solitary strike from Lebogang Manyama.

"It's quite a good outcome, we were talking a lot about advice from Steve Komphela, Jomo [Sono] and basically they are right. These last ten games it's about mentality, how you handle it, how you take it," Middendorp told SuperSport TV.

"And I know my players, I know this team, I know them very well, I could see during the week already that we're prepared, we want it and unfortunately here and there some injuries.

"Leonardo [Castro] had to go off as you see, Willard Katsande had to go out and that's always a difficult moment, players from the bench, in particular huge compliment to [Anthony] Akumu coming on and taking over in a really crucial position.

"I'm very proud of it and I think each and everybody on the Kaizer Chiefs side, players, technical team, supporters, deserve this moment and they should enjoy it."

Turning his attention to the technical aspects of the game, Middendorp added: "It's very different from what I have seen with all the other teams and I travel and follow the teams, it was very important today to do positional defending, not going in advance marking, keep the central corridors closed, make sure you're prepared for the balls on top of the defence line.

"And of course the reference point has to be the ball and your own teammates, not the other, don't follow them, getting tracked out, getting pulled out, this is not, then you're in a really nonsense position and I think the players have done well.

"Good, we had some moments when they had possibilities to score but other moments on the other side I think it's Eric [Mathoho] and other players we had the possibility to make it 2-0 and a close book would [have been] earlier."

Chiefs now have a seven-point lead at the top of the standings, ahead of second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns.

- TEAMtalk media

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