Pretoria - Supersport United players have to toughen up if they are to contend for silverware this season.
Matsatsantsa a Pitori suffered a major blow in their first outing of the season. Their coach Cavin Johnson watched in horror as his men were given a rude wake-up call by Orlando Pirates, who knocked them out of the MTN8 after beating them 2-1. The final scoreline flattered SuperSport.
The men from the capital city were torn apart by the forwards of the Buccaneers. Johnson is worried about the psychological effect the loss will have on his charges.
“My players need to bounce back. They need to have a strong mentality. I hope they bumped their heads against the wall and they are able to move on now. They need to show effort. I hope this week, they would have learnt their lesson,” said Johnson.
SuperSport were made to chase shadows with Pirates reducing them to an ordinary side.
The manner in which SuperSport accounted themselves was below par. The defence was in tatters, the midfield was stagnant and the strike force was blunt. Despite their below-par performance, SuperSport were lucky that only Kermit Erasmus and Daine Klate, graduates of their youth structures, found the net with many chances going astray. SuperSport midfielder David Mathebula was responsible for the consolation goal. Johnson believes the way in which his players feared Pirates was unwarranted.
“My players gave Pirates too much respect. They allowed Pirates to run at them and dominate the game. We were not able to do what we are capable of doing. We gave them too much respect. We could not make four passes.
“Four or five of my players did not come to the party. They didn’t put in much effort. We have to give 200 percent in our next match against Wits,” said Johnson. Pirates played at a high tempo while SuperSport were trying to settle. New signings Clayton Daniels, the new SuperSport captain, Michael Morton, Lerato Manzini and Andile Fikizolo were given a run.
Daniels, who partnered Mor Diouf at the back, may not have been bad but as part of the SuperSport collective he faltered.
The space that the defence allowed Pirates to roam around in was too much. Keeper Ronwen Williams was badly exposed by the defence but on certain occasions, he was able to pull off some superb saves. Morton fell short in battles in the middle. Fikizolo and Manzini could not have much influence on the game that was already done and dusted when they came on.
SuperSport will have to undo all their wrongs when they kick off their Absa Premiership campaign against Wits at the Lucas Moripe Stadium this weekend.
Wits had an outstanding season in the previous campaign and like many teams, the Students have bolstered their team with a number of signings during the transfer window. Wits coach Gavin Hunt, whose side made it to the semi-finals of the MTN8 after beating Bloemfontein Celtic at the weekend, says it’s hard to assess his side so far.
“It’s difficult to gauge where we are. We didn’t have a lot of our players in the game against Celtic. The thing we take from the game is the fighting spirit in the team. SuperSport is going to be a tough match. They are playing at home and they will want to do well,” said Hunt.