Johannesburg – Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter downplayed his side's narrow 1-0 win against Free State Stars at the Charles Mopedi Stadium on Saturday.
Although he expressed his happiness for collecting maximum points, Baxter said the win did not say much about how the team would fare in the season.
“We all like to get off to a good start but it doesn't mean you will have a great season. It makes working when we get back to Naturena a little bit easier,” Baxter said.
Chiefs managed to scrape a result against a very organised Stars team which was happy to sit back and look for the counter.
Baxter admitted his side struggled a bit but said it was the result that mattered most.
“I thought in the first half our movement wasn't very good,” he said.
“In the second half, it was better and the goal was a great example of our movement. With a bit more care and maybe a better pitch, we would have gotten a second goal and killed it off.”
George Lebese capitalised on a defensive error to score Chiefs' all-important goal. Baxter, however, reiterated the importance of a second goal when playing against a very defensive team.
“We created about four very good chances and when you're away against a team like this that second goal is really important.
“If they are defending and going long on counterattacks, that second goal makes them come out and play. We never got that second goal and that's the only negative I will concede.
“Apart from that, I am happy with the way the players approached the game. It's the first game of the season and we are up and running now, so that's a good start.”
Meanwhile, Stars coach Tom Saintfiet praised his charges' courage and organisation despite the loss at home.
“I am proud of my players,” said the Belgian mentor.
“In the first 45 minutes, we were very good in our organisation and I saw only two shots on goal from Chiefs. We had some counterattacks but we couldn't really create a chance but we did had some fast counterattacks.”
Saintfiet rued the injury suffered by goalkeeper Daouda Diakite, forcing the coach to make an unplanned change which, he claimed, negatively affected his whole plan for the game.
“It's only sad that my goalkeeper had to be changed after the injury, which meant I had less changes in the second half to do something in this match.
“We made one mistake at the back and they scored. It wasn't a chance but just our mistake. I am disappointed but very proud of my boys.”
Diakite went down clutching his hamstring after taking a goalkick. He was replaced by Ayanda Mtshali. – Sapa