Bid to keep clean sheets is making players anxious, says Sundowns coach Mngqithi
Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has admitted their record-breaking run of 13 matches without conceding a goal in the DStv Premiership is starting to take its toll on players.
The last time the Brazilians conceded a goal was in May last season when they beat SuperSport United 3-1. Since then their goalkeepers Dennis Onyango, Kennedy Mweene and Reyaad Pieterse have been impregnable.
“This thing of clean sheets is always good because it is part of our plan and our processes but it is always going to put pressure on the team,” Mngqithi said after their 0-0 draw with Cape Town City on Saturday.
“When you are playing a game of football and you are not expected to commit any mistakes, that is where you end up committing more mistakes.
“But when you play a game of football wanting to dominate, to fight for every ball, you know very well pponents can score against you but you have to score more than them.”
Mngqithi said in the back of their minds, players can unintentionally be more defensive and play with anxiety because they are trying too hard to stop the opposition from scoring.
“I am not saying I want the team to start conceding goals. I am saying t this thing of not having conceded a goal is slowly pilling up the pressure and making the team play with a bit more anxiety.
“We want to make sure we don’t concede. At times it will also force you to be a little bit more defensive and that’s my concern at this stage. It is derailing the freedom of expression.”
As they kept another clean sheet, the Brazilians also went through their 18th league match without defeat to increase their lead at the top of the log to five points with a game in hand over second-placed Stellenbosch.
Their impressive run without conceding and suffering defeat will be put to the test in their next match against SuperSport United during the Tshwane derby on Wednesday at Loftus.
Sundowns' last 13 league matches without conceding:
- Cape Town City 0-0 Sundowns
- Marumo Gallants 0-4 Sundowns
- Sundowns 1-0 Maritzburg
- Arrows 0-1 Sundowns
- Sundowns 3-0 Swallows
- Pirates 0-2 Sundowns
- Sundowns 3-0 TS Galaxy
- Sundowns 2-0 Chiefs
- Chippa 0-0 Sundowns
- Sundowns 1-0 AmaZulu
- Sundowns 3-0 Cape Town City
- Celtic 0-2 Sundowns
- Swallows 0-0 Sundowns.