Cape Town – There was no hiding the relief on Ajax Cape Town coach Jan Pruijn's face after Friday night's 1-0 win over Maritzburg United at Athlone Stadium.
“It was a matter of bringing the players to the fact that we are at the bottom of the league, playing a team that is unbeaten away,” Pruijn said.
The victory followed the Urban Warriors' three nil capitulation to Kaizer Chiefs earlier in the week. Their win over Martizburg took the Cape side to a more respectable 11th position on the Premiership table.
Pruijn admitted he had battled to get the players in the right frame of mind ahead of the Martizburg battle.
“It took me until after the Chiefs game until 10 minutes to eight tonight to make sure everyone was aware what this game is about,” he said.
The only goal of the game came from Toriq Losper five minutes before the end of the match.
Pruijn was happy at the nature of the goal and pleased to see his men following instructions, which he hoped would bode well for the future.
“You never know with Maritzburg. I told my players to be patient, to be organised, to try and play the ball down the wings and that they would get a chance,” he said.
“I told Losper that he would get at least one chance, and we have worked at training on shots from that distance (from which we scored).
“I told Wanderson, who made the assist, to look up and make the easy pass, so overall things worked out. We are getting there step by step.
“At this moment it's very helpful to get back on track with two away games to come.”
Team of Choice coach Ernst Middendorp felt his team's failure to take anything from their trip to the Mother City was a result of not being able to spend enough time with the ball in dangerous positions.
United often played attractive football in the centre of the park, but rarely threatened in the final third.
“Our biggest problem in the last two games has been keeping the ball up front, for two, three seconds,” said the former Chiefs boss.
“We have to work on it. We have a small squad and we have had to rely on a player like Cuthbert Malajila a lot. A player like (the injured) Orlando Smeekes would be useful at the moment.
Middendorp said he was disappointed his team had failed to take the opportunity to equalise towards the end of the game when Delron Buckley failed to find the net with a clear chance on goal from 16-yards out.
“Congratulations to Ajax, they were the more active team and deserved the win, no doubt about it,” he said. – Sapa