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Big results brewing more confidence at Kaizer Chiefs‚ says Middendorp

08 November 2019 - 14:43 By Marc Strydom
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp all smiles after their match against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp all smiles after their match against Mamelodi Sundowns.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

Some big results in the past six weeks in cup and league football have continued Kaizer Chiefs’ upward trajectory in confidence‚ Amakhosi coach Ernst Middendorp has said ahead of Saturday’s Soweto derby Mark II against Orlando Pirates.

Chiefs are top of the Absa Premiership‚ and have not conceded in five league games as they meet Pirates at a sold-out FNB Stadium on Saturday (kickoff 3.30pm).

They also come off a week where they beat Pirates on penalties after edging a 2-2 extra-time thriller in Saturday’s Telkom Knockout quarterfinal derby at Moses Mabhida Stadium‚ then beat Chippa United 2-0 in the league away on Wednesday night.

Both of those – the Chippa win‚ because Middendorp rested first team players‚ and it took Chiefs seven points clear in the PSL ahead of a second derby – were big results.

For a side who finished ninth in their fourth trophyless campaign in 2018-19‚ the past six weeks have seen the new‚ solid Chiefs grow in confidence further with impressive results. A TKO last-16 penalties win against Cape Town City was followed by 2-0 away league win against second-placed defending champions Mamelodi Sundowns ahead of the derbies.

“Of course‚ it’s‚ let’s say‚ this understanding that everybody is contributing‚” Middendorp said on his team’s buoyant mood.

“Sometimes some players more‚ sometimes other players less. But with success‚ with habits of being successful – and one is definitely confidence – you get successful actions through results.

“I believe that it is‚ on the other side‚ how grown‚ professional players are contributing.

“Just take the game on Wednesday. We have seen Chippa coming out‚ pressing high‚ high speed‚ having played 120 minutes [losing on penalties against Sundowns in the TKO] on Sunday.

“And you could see already‚ ‘This will not work for 90 minutes’. And the injuries they had in five or six minutes were a result of 120 minutes against Sundowns.

“And for me it’s important to say: ‘Players‚ just manage. Manage the situation. Don’t run out‚ let Chippa run’. And this is shows we have players in this squad who can see that we can wait sometimes.

“And I think this is also part of confidence‚ and being able to manage the game‚ in particular if you have three games in one week.”

Chiefs might be in form. Even though they beat Bucs from spot-kicks this past weekend‚ though‚ the first derby again highlighted that form counts for little in the ultra-competitive Chiefs-Pirates matchup.

Amakhosi’s aggressive attacking play rattled Pirates and forced Bucs defender Mthokozisi Dube’s 50th-minute red card. But 10-man Bucs still took the game to Chiefs in the other direction enough to force the game to extra time and penalties.