Baxter on SuperSport v Chiefs: ‘Every player in a blue shirt will think they’re going to win‚ fatigue or no fatigue’

SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter admits that his team’s participation in the Caf Confederation is taking its toll on his players physically‚ but will not use fatigue as an excuse.

Baxter’s side take on Kaizer Chiefs in Saturday evening’s Nedbank Cup quarterfinal at FNB Stadium at a disadvantage of having played last Thursday‚ in Liberia on Saturday‚ and then on Wednesday this week.

Amakhosi played last Wednesday‚ winning 2-0 away in the league against Bloemfontein Celtic‚ then beat Chippa United 1-0 at FNB on Saturday‚ with a clear week to prepare for their quarterfinal.

Baxter has admitted his side’s focus might have suffered with the distraction of his talks with the SA Football Association over the vacant Bafana Bafana job.

He said his side’s schedule – losing 5-0 against Mamelodi Sundowns on Thursday‚ travelling to Monrovia to beat Barrack YC 5-0 in the Caf Confederation Cup on Saturday‚ and losing 1-0 against Sundowns on Wednesday – will also take its toll.

“I hear Jose Mourinho talking about the fatigue on the Man United players because they had to travel four hours to Russia in the same week that we had to travel one-and-a-half days or fly 19 hours to Liberia or Sudan‚” Baxter said.

“And we come back and within 48 hours you’re playing an important PSL or Nedbank Cup game.

“We’ve had the fatigue element for a long‚ long time now. And you don’t say it because people listen and they say‚ ‘Ah excuses’.

“But it’s a factor that we have had to work hard to overcome. We do whatever we can and what we can’t do‚ we can’t do.

“But I think it’s a mentality thing where the players have attacked it in the right way.

“And they’ve said‚ ‘Look‚ nobody’s going to listen so we have to get out there and give it whatever we’ve got’. We have to monitor the loading‚ and work harder on our preparation.

“And the injuries that you think that you’re getting because of fatigue‚ you’ve just got to accept it.

“If in my head I put that result down to fatigue and everything else it doesn’t really matter. Because to you guys (the media) it’s an excuse. To me it’s an explanation.

“Now whatever those explanations are I’ve got to get on with life. The next game is Chiefs‚ and I’m sure that when we run out on the field every player in a blue shirt will think they’re going to win the game‚ fatigue or no fatigue.

“That’s all I can do – to put them put there with a reason to believe that they can win the game‚ and a gameplan that gives them hope that they can win the game.”

SuperSport progressed to the Nedbank quarters with wins against KZN lower-tier teams Royal Eagles and KwaDukuza United.

- TMG Digital/TMG Sport

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