We were stronger mentally – Middendorp

“A soccer game is 80% mental,” reflects Ernst Middendorp on his team’s victory over Cape Town City. “We were on top of it. I could feel it. We were more confident and stronger mentally than the opposition. We were not sublime in our play, but there was no point where I felt we could lose this game.”

Amakhosi completed their 50th birthday week with a 3-0 win over the Citizens on Sunday at FNB Stadium.

“This is the kind of strength we need to compete and stay on top,” says Middendorp, “The opposition is very skillful I must say. Not Kermit Erasmus alone, they are a bunch of good players. They just need more confidence to get results. They will soon start to pick up points, I think.

“We have recovered well from a slow start in 2020. Decision making and going forward was not according to plan. We will highlight this in our team talk. We have to go for goals, but it is important to watch your teammates and respect their runs. Soccer is a complicated and complex game. We appreciate the players finding solutions during the match – that’s how soccer is played.

“Another this is that freedom is a big discussion in soccer. We have to give the players freedom to make decisions but acknowledge sometimes taking risks can backfire. I was not planning to replace Leonardo Castro, but the player raised a concern with his heavy legs, and we were forced to replace him.

“George Maluleka’s yellow card is a dampener for me. He played well and deserved his Man of the Match award. He covered enough ground and was exceptional. It’s a pity he’ll miss a trip to Black Leopards this coming weekend due to this fourth yellow.”

Chiefs travel to Thohoyandou on Saturday to tackle Black Leopards.