Mngqithi – It Was Very Important For Us
Mamelodi Sundowns Co Head Coach Manqoba Mngqithi says it was an important three points, as the log leaders beat Maritzburg United in the DStv Premiership on Wednesday.
Sundowns moved four points clear at the top of the table with the win, and still have a game in hand over their nearest rivals.
Mngqithi says Maritzburg are always tricky opponents, and Ernst Middendorp had surprised them with a few of their tactics.
“Firstly, I think we’ve always known it’s not going to be an easy match,” Mngqithi said after the win.
“It has never been easy between us and Maritzburg. Because Ernst always comes with a lot of changes in shape and all that.”
“Just like today, we anticipated that Ryan Rae will be playing more as a right back that inverts into a centre back to have a three. But suddenly, today he had Morgan who was playing more like an inverted centre back, and Stevic with Tlolane were the ones that were giving wing play, yet normally plays with Morgan being the one who gives wing play on the left, and Stevic on the right with Ryae Rae inside.”
“So that is something we expected from him because we know he changes a lot, but structurally, we had prepared for that. We had worked on many build up skills and also pressing schemes, which helped us to be able to deal with what we’re facing, though, in the early stages of the match, I must say we struggled to take to take care of Ryan Rae, who was playing as a six today.”
“Then we had to try and adjust our team accordingly. And fortunately, the players managed to grasp it quickly. And it helped us to be able to have the right balance to to dominate, and also to have some penetration in our game. But I must say they’re a little bit stubborn first half.”
“But we knew that when we rotate the ball a lot, at some point they’ll get tired and give us some openings. Very good work on the high press and good counter press in from the group, which helped us even to get the penalty from Motupa’s run.”
“And from there the game became more open and it gave us a little bit of a chance to dominate. with at least a goal and forcing them to come out a little bit to their high line, which could have given us a little bit more with the space behind their defence, but I don’t think we use that very well, on the few moments we got on the break.”
“But generally I think the boys worked very hard. We all wanted to get a result in this match, because it was very important for us to try and use these games in hand the best way we can, because we still going to have a very tough program ahead of us.”
Sundowns play again this Sunday when they take on TS Galaxy at the Mbombela Stadium.