Playing after every three days wearing down players, coach says

Middendorp blames fatigue for defeats

Neville Khoza Journalist
Ernst Middendorp (Head Coach) of Maritzburg Utd during the DStv Premiership match between AmaZulu FC and Maritzburg United at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on January 17, 2021 in Durban, South Africa.
Ernst Middendorp (Head Coach) of Maritzburg Utd during the DStv Premiership match between AmaZulu FC and Maritzburg United at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium on January 17, 2021 in Durban, South Africa.
Image: Steve Haag/BackPagePix/Gallo Images

Playing a match after every three days has taken its toll on Maritzburg United players.

This is according to coach Ernst Middendorp following his side’s back-to-back defeats to TS Galaxy and Orlando Pirates in the DStv Premiership.

Saturday's 0-1 defeat against Pirates came at their home ground, Harry Gwala Stadium.

“We were not competitive in the first half. I think it was a bit surprising for me,” Middendorp told the club’s media department after the game.

“Several players at the moment are not on the level where they can be. I don’t know if it is something that the pressure is on the back now for the third game in six days.”

The German mentor said he had spoken to his team at halftime and was pleased with what he saw in the second half.

“It is the changes going into the second half, where we were competitive. We had our better dominance [but] our options [were] not 100% in a big level, but I believe that if we had shown a little bit more drive in the final third in terms of decision making, we could have scored,” he said.

“There were three moments where we could have done better to get probably the equaliser but in the end it is 0-1. We must move into the week to find solutions to get the number of players to sharpness, into a level where we can put the skills.

“We are not complaining about the second half. We tried. We put ourselves into the front foot attacking movement and we controlled the defensive line quite effectively here and there. We break through sometimes.”

The Team of Choice now face a daunting trip to unbeaten Golden Arrows in the KwaZulu-Natal derby at Sugar Ray Xulu Stadium on Saturday.

“We a have a full week to recover. Of course, we have some knocks and some players out with injuries, and we have to see what possible particular circumstances it is important that we get into the week in front of us and see what we have.”

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