‘Chiefs want to play attacking football so show attacking football‚’ says Solinas

Kaizer Chiefs head coach Giovanni Solinas speaks to the media during a media day at the club's training base in Naturena, south of Johannesburg, on August 09, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Kaizer Chiefs head coach Giovanni Solinas speaks to the media during a media day at the club's training base in Naturena, south of Johannesburg, on August 09, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas would rather perfect the quickness of his team’s defensive transitions than back down on his attacking gameplan‚ he has said.

Solinas was criticised – even by his own striker‚ Leonardo Castro – for persisting with a high press‚ introducing a winger for a winger with Bongolethu Jayiya for Khotso Malope at 2-0 up in Wednesday’s 2-2 Absa Premiership draw against Bloemfontein Celtic.

Many‚ Castro included‚ felt Solinas should have brought in defensive midfielder Wiseman Meyiwa to consolidate instead.

The coach’s approach‚ too‚ of a high press for most of 90 minutes – which seems to leave Amakhosi exposed losing the ball‚ as it also did in their MTN8 semifinal first leg 2-2 draw away against SuperSport United – has also been questioned.

Given the complaints about defense-minded‚ counterattack football in the PSL‚ the questions over what Solinas is trying to achieve seem a little contradictory.

But the fact is that results count‚ and one MTN8 quarterfinal win against Free State Stars (3-0)‚ and four draws and a defeat in the league‚ have Solinas under early pressure in the country’s hottest coaching seat.

Solinas‚ though‚ as Chiefs prepared for Saturday night’s MTN8 second leg against SuperSport at FNB Stadium (kickoff 8.15pm)‚ said the problem was a matter of Chiefs not reacting quickly enough to get their attacking players behind the ball when it is lost.

“In our attacking football we use a lot of players for attacking. A minimum seven‚” Chiefs’ coach said.

“We have four players in front. We attack with one midfielder – normally [Siphelele] Ntshangase. We also use our full-backs like wingers.

“So it’s normal that when the ball is lost we need a defensive transition‚ and we need an immediate reaction – because in this moment we will have lost our balance.”

Solinas was asked about not bringing on Meyiwa to consolidate and close shop for what would have been a valuable first league win for the coach against Celtic.

“Jayiya is a winger. Wiseman is a midfielder. If we want to keep our shape I change a winger for a winger‚” he said.

“If I had put in Wiseman in this moment we would have played three midfielders. But if we put three midfielders‚ what would be the solution for covering the side?

“I would have to move a player like Khama Billiat to the side and play 4-3-3‚ for example. But at the moment I like to keep Billiat in the centre.”

Solinas seemed not to consider that he might have brought on a defense-minded central midfielder like Meyiwa for attack-minded Ntshangase‚ thereby keeping Chiefs’ shape and tweaking the structure for consolidation rather than attack.

The coach feels that new signing Lebogang Manyama being brought to match fitness can help Chiefs’ attacking gameplan.

He feels Manyama can fit into his frontline as a winger – rather than competing with Billiat for deep striker. That would make for a potentially fearsome front four of Dumisani Zuma and Manyama on the wings and Billiat and Leonardo Castro as strikers.

“In my opinion when Lebo is fit we can play with Lebo‚ Zuma‚ Billiat‚ Castro‚” Solinas said‚ drawing a few chuckles from the press.

“Ja. Hey guys – we want to play attacking football so show attacking football.

“It’s a problem when the ball is lost. This is a challenge.

“But me‚ I like this challenge. I trust in this challenge.

“We just need balance. We need to solve this problem collectively.

“So when you play a lot of attacking players‚ we need these attackers also to participate in this defensive job.”

MTN8 semifinals -

Kaizer Chiefs v SuperSport United (FNB Stadium‚ 8.15pm)

Mamelodi Sundowns v Cape Town City (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 3pm)

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