With Cape Town City targeting a top-four finish in the DStv Premiership, head coach Eric Tinkler says he’s expecting a tough battle on Saturday against second-placed Royal AM, and feels that getting a good result on Saturday could see their aspirations even aim higher.
Currently sitting in the fifth spot on 39 points, only goal difference is keeping City behind third-placed Kaizer Chiefs and fourth-placed Orlando Pirates. Royal AM are on 43 points, four points ahead of the chasing party.
City are on a run of four consecutive wins and Tinkler would like to make it five, but warns that his team need to take their chances, as Royal AM have punished teams who haven’t.
“Ja, I think obviously, a tough game against a team that is in very, very good form currently, laying second in the league,” Tinkler said in the pre-match press conference.
“I think John Maduka has done quite an exceptional job since he’s been there, and what they’ve proven to be is a very, very stubborn, difficult team to score against.
“[The] majority of the teams that have played them have created more chances than them, have had more possession than them, and yet Royal AM has somehow always managed to get the final result, and win the match.
“So our preparation is very, very important, what we do in that final third because when we analyse their last five games, in every single match the opposition had 5, 6, 7 clear chances, more than them, to score but they didn’t. So it’s very, very important what we do offensively on the ball, we’re playing at home, we need to be positive.
“We need to go and play without any fear. We want to try and achieve our objectives, and one of those objectives ensuring that we finish in the top four. So a result against them just distances ourselves from the teams that obviously laying six to eight.
“So that’s a positive, and then obviously, we potentially could have our fifth win in a row, something that hasn’t been achieved at the club. So that’s a target, that’s an objective, and you would love that momentum going into the game at the end of the month against Mamelodi Sundowns, let’s not give them the league yet!”
When asked by iDiski Times journalist Rob Delport, if getting a positive result against Royal AM could see City target more than just a top-four finish, and go for second place, Tinkler said it could be key.
“You are entirely correct, we potentially can find ourselves looking at third, or potentially second, and going into the Champions League,” Tinkler responded.
“Now, which player or coach wouldn’t want to be there?
“So, obviously, we’ll take it game by game, we’re not putting that added pressure on anyone. We’re just looking at each game as it comes and looking to try and perform to the best of our ability.
‘It’s been quite difficult, especially these last four games, because there’s been a break after every single one. This one now, we played Maritzburg, it’s going to be 10 days ago, by the time we kick off against Royal AM.
“So it’s been difficult, but the players have worked extremely hard at training. And if there’s one big difference I noted from the team since we made all the changes in December, is our intensity in training has gone from poor to fantastic.
“And because of that, I think that’s why we seeing the success that we starting to see from the team and the unity that currently exists within the squad.”