Mamelodi Sundowns head coach Rulani Mokwena has explained his tactical masterclass to beat Pyramids FC in Egypt by drawing comparisons to Manchester City and Arsenal.
Masandawana picked up a crucial 1-0 away win in the CAF Champions League on Tuesday evening to move to seven points in Group A.
In previous seasons, Sundowns were accused of struggling to win “ugly” but throughout the 2023/24 campaign Mokwena’s side have proven they are able to grind out results when needed – which helped them on the continent to win the African Football League.
After the match Mokwena was asked whether Sundowns are “giving up the beautiful side of their football” and explained that they’re purely responding to the questions being asked of them.
“We are football romantics, we love football but we also understand that in the game of football you have to answer what the game asks of you,” he said.
“If the game asks you to counterattack, you’ve got to counterattack, we don’t play for that. if the game asks you to suffer and absorb, we have to suffer and absorb pressure but we don’t play for that.
“For majority of the game we had some good moments where we dominated possession and that’s not always easy in the Champions League, so we had to play and answer that – that’s the modern game at the moment.
“If you look at the modern game, the best teams in the world… what makes Manchester City a difficult team to beat, because they work very, very hard when they don’t have the ball. What makes Arsenal at the moment probably the best team in the English Premier League is that they work very, very hard when they don’t have the ball.
“And that’s where the modern game is – answer the questions that the game asks you. If the game asks you to win from set pieces, you have to win on set pieces, that’s what football is.”
Sundowns will now shift their focus back on the DStv Premiership, where they will face Cape Town City, Moroka Swallows and Polokwane City before the turn of the year, while the Champions League only continues on 23 February.