Eric Tinkler pulling out his hair in frustration after defeat to Kaizer Chiefs

Maritzburg United head coach Eric Tinkler cuts a frustrated figure in his technical area during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs.
Maritzburg United head coach Eric Tinkler cuts a frustrated figure in his technical area during the Absa Premiership match against Kaizer Chiefs.
Image: Samuel Shivambu/BackpagePix

The manner in which Maritzburg United could not capitalise on a flat first half from Kaizer Chiefs in their 1-0 Absa Premiership defeat on Saturday is an indicator of the mountain of pressure on the last-placed team.

Mariztburg coach Eric Tinkler pointed out that such pressure is notable to a greater extent in away matches.

In Tinkler's five games since replacing Muhsin Ertugral‚ Maritzburg have pulled off two huge wins at home but lost three away.

Tinkler noted his team's poor decision-making and tempo in a first half where Chiefs played too deep and United won a lot corners.

"The delivery‚ the service‚ just wasn't there‚" United's coach mused.

The coach agreed that such an inability to take advantage of a favourable condition is down to confidence for a team under pressure‚ who‚ three points behind second-last Chippa United‚ have to fight for their lives in every match.

"Right now‚ with the short period that I've been at the club‚ when I look at the away games - like the game against Wits - I thought we performed well‚" he said.

"We had moments. But we still seemed to play with a certain amount of fear.

"Like [Bandile] Shandu today. Shandu didn't play to what he's capable of doing at home.

"At home he seems to play with a lot more freedom‚ a lot more confidence in himself. And in that first half he was panicking.

"Every time on the ball he was making the wrong decisions‚ using the wrong part of his foot to try and bring it down‚ wasn't looking to be positive and go forward‚ was looking to play back.

"And that's a mindset that seems to be in the players. And all one can do is to try and turn that negative into something positive.

"And‚ you know‚ during the week everything looks great. But it's like I keep telling the chairman [Farook Kadodia]‚ I will only know how they react once the referee blows that whistle [for kickoff].

"We look at all the games away‚ it's always not just been one or two players under-performing‚ because you can get away with that.

"When I look at today‚ it's three‚ four players under-performing. And then it becomes difficult structurally because you can only make three subs.

"So you've got to just try and keep motivating and pushing the players to get that belief in themselves.

"But it's not an easy situation. This is where you see the true character of the human being.

"Because you are in a dog-fight right now. And you must take responsibity.

"Harsh reality - you are responsible to find yourself where you are. And now you've got to be strong enough to get yourself out."

Dumisani Zuma's classy 50th-minute strike earned Chiefs victory as Amakhosi improved structurally and in tempo in the second half.

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