Johannesburg – Gavin Hunt hailed Wits’ 1-0 win over Maritzburg United on Wednesday as the team’s best performance of the season, as the Clever Boys look to finally be playing to their potential with a new-look squad.
Despite a scrappy 22nd minute goal from Sthembiso Ngcobo proving the only highlight in a fast-paced, but ultimately disappointing spectacle in Johannesburg, Hunt felt Wits were gaining momentum with their unbeaten record in the league.
“It was a real good, honest, performance. To be fair, if you know football, the score could have been anything,” Hunt said afterwards at Bidvest Stadium in Braamfontein.
“It could have been six, seven, whatever. But the performance was much better.
“They’re an honest bunch and that’s all I want. As long as we keep in touch, I think this team will improve.”
Hunt would have been pleased that his outfit managed to bounce back after a 2-0 defeat to Orlando Pirates in the first leg of their MTN8 semifinal, at home, over the weekend.
The defeat was their first of the 2014/15 season, but two wins and a draw in the Premiership has seen them climb into third on the log, the position they finished in at the end of last season.
However, Hunt was quick to point out a major flaw in his team.
“We’re happy with the performance but we’re not happy with all the chances taken. It’s been like this the whole season so far,” he said.
“We’ve scored one goal now in open play in five games. We need to be better, we will get better.
“But the point is, you’ve got to be scoring the goals. We scored a goal from a real scrappy situation but that’s what football’s all about sometimes.”
A first half injury to first choice left-back Onismor Bhasera forced Hunt’s hand, making an early change by bringing in veteran defender Dillon Sheppard, who joined Wits after running out his contract at Maritzburg the previous season.
Sheppard, 35, showed his class, putting up a superb display in a less familiar role in defence, but still caused plenty of problems for United with his bursting runs up the flanks.
Hunt had worked with Sheppard for a number of years in the Premiership and was full of praise for the former Bafana Bafana
international, who looked more likely to retire than play during 2014/15.
“Sheppie came in and he was magnificent at left-back. Sheppie's fantastic on the ball and that’s why I signed him,” Hunt said.
“He can play left-wing, inside midfield, left-back – I had him at 17, gave him his debut so I know all about him.”
The Students face Pirates in the second leg of the MTN8 on Saturday and will need to overturn two away goals to book their spot in the September 20 final. – Sapa