Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy: That’s not my message to the team to start slow and then return stronger. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

JOHANNESBURG – Benni McCarthy is not a fan of one of Cape Town City’s qualities which has earned them respect in the country’s football landscape while also helping them muscle their way into the Absa Premiership race.

The Citizens are the comeback Kings, able to fight back from situations where they look dead and buried, and haunt their opponents. They showed this quality against Mamelodi Sundowns and Bidvest Wits who are among the title contenders.

The downside to this quality is that the team starts slowly. City are often almost pedestrian in the first half, probably because they know that they can come back from any difficult situation. But if this keeps happening, the players will start adopting a care-free attitude that it’s okay to start badly in the first half because they can bounce back in the second.

Kaizer Chiefs punished them for their slow start at Mbombela Stadium on Sunday, eliminating the Capetonians in the quarterfinals of the Nedbank Cup.

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“That’s not my message to the team to start slow and then return stronger. I like to start well from the first minute,” McCarthy said. “The players are the ones who are responsible for this. The minute the players step over those four lines, as a coach you’ve got no control and no say on how players enter the game.

“I am not a fan of us taking our time to get into the game, and we give ourselves a mountain to climb in the second half. I like to be top. I like to be the first one at the top of the mountain, and then everybody else plays catch up so that I can get my rest. We rest on our laurels, so that we can play ourselves out of everything.”

Benni McCarthy does not prefer the title of 'comebacks kings.' Photo: Luigi Bennett / BackpagePix
Benni McCarthy does not prefer the title of 'comebacks kings.' Photo: Luigi Bennett / BackpagePix

City’s primary focus is now on the league. They have two tricky away fixtures, against Golden Arrows on Saturday, followed with a clash against Bloemfontein Celtic seven days later.

“I am concerned because a bad result can have a negative impact on the players in our next two games,” McCarthy said.

“Last season I experienced it. But I think that it would be a shame if these boys now surrender what they have been working towards. Are you willing to throw away a whole season of hard work?”

Soccer Writer