“In the beginning we were too casual,” laments Ernst Middendorp. “We spoke about it during the week. I was hoping that everybody understood the message. This is something that often happens after winning the Derby match (Soweto Derby), the players get too relaxed and don’t put themselves into the next game.”
Middendorp responded following the 0-1 loss to AmaZulu in the Absa Premiership match played on Saturday night at FNB Stadium.
“We had a fantastic chance to make it 1-0 early in the first half,” the coach refers to Leonardo Castro’s missed opportunity in the first half. “We took it too casual. Not really with the excitement I am talking about. And at a critical time, just before half time, you concede. Then you start panicking and playing against the wall. You also face a block of a defensive team, defending quite deep and you struggle to find the key to unlock them.
“We failed to get the right identity in the game. Exactly what I meant when I said we took it casually. Now suddenly we concede and start panicking. We were unable to string passes together and players struggled to find each other in the game. When you get a shock, you then try to correct yourself as an individual and as a collective.”
Usuthu found the back of the net in the 44th minute of the game courtesy of Bongi Ntuli.
“We made it difficult for ourselves,” admits Middendorp. “They countered and could have punished us again. But we came back added to our strike force bringing on Lazalous Kambole and Khama Billiat. There is no excuse, we must ask ourselves what we have done and work on it before the next match against Bidvest Wits.
“I have said many times, even before the Soweto Derby that at this stage of the log it is game on. Yes, we could have done ourselves a favour by opening a comfortable gap, but this result does not bring a decision where the league will go. The kind of game we had is going to happen to everyone, where you play the opponents that are chasing survival from relegation zone. We will have to master this situation and with the right mindset, we will get over it.”