Mosimane admits he didn't think Sundowns would beat Chiefs as he struggled to read Middendorp's tactics

07 January 2019 - 09:27 By Mark Gleeson
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Mamelodi Sundowns coach Pitso Mosimane during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns at FNB Stadium on January 05, 2019 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Pitso Mosimane admitted he did not think Mamelodi Sundowns would win Saturday’s crunch league clash at Kaizer Chiefs as he battled to counter the tactics of his counterpart Ernst Middendorp.

Sundowns sneaked home with a 2-1 victory courtesy of a late error by Chiefs goalkeeper Virgil Vries that offered the champions all three points.

“I didn’t think we would win in the second half‚ I was happy to settle for a point.

"But our opportunity came‚” a candid Mosimane said.

“A draw would have been a fair result but football is what it is and I cannot say I’m not happy at taking the three points.

“Mistakes are part of the game.

"I feel sorry for Virgil Vries‚ I think he played very well and I hope he keeps his confidence because goalkeepers can make mistakes. I hope he understands that it is a mistake and these things do happen.”

Mosimane admitted he battled to get to the bottom of Chiefs’ tactical approach and‚ as a result‚ Sundowns were on the back foot for much of the game.

“You can see that Chiefs line-up differently since coach Middendorp arrived‚" the Sundowns coach said.

"Their organisation is stronger and very difficult for us to read. It was awkward for us in the first half because it took a little bit of time for us to figure out how they play.

“I think that immediately after we scored the first goal‚ we went down in our performance and because Chiefs played differently and in a manner that I did not expect.”

Sundowns were 1-0 ahead after only three minutes through Antony Laffor but Willard Katsande equalised only 11 minutes later.

“Katsande was coming in between two centre-backs‚" he said

"They had more midfielders and we struggled to deal with George Maluleka because he was the one supplying the ball and Lebo (Lebogang Manyama) was causing a bit of a problem on the right hand side.

“He knows how to find the space in the pockets and we struggled to deal with him.

"Their two fullbacks were aggressive coming out and it was tough having to deal with them too.

“At half-time I had to sort it out and find a way to play and we settled in the second half but‚ to be honest‚ in the first half we were a little bit uncomfortable because of the way Chiefs played.

“And if you looked at the way they played against SuperSport United (last month)‚ it was so very different‚ so you’ve got to be on your toes all the time.

"It is a sign of the quality of the tactical awareness of their coach (Middendorp)

“I’m wondering how many other teams will come here and get points (off Chiefs). It won’t be easy‚” Mosimane added.

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