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Johannesburg – The derby between Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United could prove crucial in deciding the top eight Premiership spots by the end of the season, United coach Gavin Hunt said.
With only two points separating Matsatsantsa in ninth place and Sundowns in 11th, either side have the opportunity to climb into the top eight by claiming maximum points at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Atteridgeville.
“We can't seem to get our way out of there (mid-table) at the moment, we're not losing but we're not winning,” Hunt said on Friday.
“It's going to be tough, they have a lot of good players, certainly individually they have better players than we've got.
“Collectively we are a good unit, we work hard, our shape will always get us into good positions on the field.”
With 13 draws from their 20 fixtures, Hunt added that he was pleased with the intent shown by the players.
However, Hunt said he was left frustrated by the lack of match-winning goals that could have seen the team in the top three, having lost less games than third-placed Platinum Stars.
“We drew our last game and won the one before that, so it has been frustrating, but it's so tight a league that from top to bottom anyone can win or lose at this point in time.
“If you're creating chances then I'm happy. We can't do anything different, we are creating lots of chances.
“You see people at training putting the ball away and then in a game we miss tap-ins.
“The final ball has let us down, the cross or the pass or the shot but we certainly have been dominant in games and that's important for me.”
Looking at the injury list, Hunt said United have had a bad run of luck, especially in defence, where the team have been without the likes of Bevan Fransman, Grant Kekana and Roscoe Pietersen.
In attack, Hunt believed the team had too many options.
“That (injuries) always coincides with a bad run of form, but I don't think we're playing that badly at all.
“We've got too many up front. At the back we've got problems in terms of numbers, so that's been a bit of a problem for us.”
Meanwhile, Sundown coach Pitso Mosimane – who takes on United for the first time as a coach at club level – said he was aware that many considered SuperSport United to be the club that shaped his career.
“Everybody knows my story with SuperSport United... I coached there for seven years and so we made each other,” Mosimane said.
“It's not only SuperSport that made me, but I also made the team as well.
“We are playing a good team and they also have a good coach. We respect them as they won three league titles in succession. Our aim is for a Top 8 finish and I believe we can get it.” – Sapa