JOHANNESBURG – The Kaizer Chiefs back-four may currently be under some serious scrutiny, but coach Giovanni Solinas isn’t batting an eyelid.
Well, the Italian was a little irritated by the constant criticism of his defenders after they collapsed under pressure in the Soweto Derby against Orlando Pirates on Saturday – a game in which the Buccaneers took advantage of errors at the back.
Mario Booysen, signed by Chiefs just days before the close of the transfer window in August, was under much of the spotlight.
“Guys, please listen to me,” Solinas said to journalists after the weekend’s 2-1 defeat to their rivals.
“Me, I don’t change my defenders according to how Pirates or Wits or Sundowns play. I keep my defenders. I don’t know, but this is not a poor performance from our defenders.
“I don’t change my defenders by looking at the other teams. I believe in my defenders, not just those that played today, but those that were on the bench.”
Solinas appears to have forgotten that he’s already admitted – at least once – this season that Amakhosi needed to work on their defensive transition.
At the time he made his comments, he’d not won a single Premier League game in five outings.
On average, Chiefs have conceded a goal in every match so far during the 2018-19 campaign, with Siyabonga Ngezana and Daniel Cardoso the most used central-defence pairing.
Booysen took Cardoso’s place for the Soweto Derby.
The loss to Pirates pushed the Glamour Boys down to seventh place on the table and has put immense pressure on Solinas, who has inherited a side that had failed to win any major silverware in the previous three years under his predecessor Steve Komphela.
“I am not concerned about this. We have the best defenders in South Africa, it is my opinion that Chiefs have the best.
“I respect everyone else’s opinion, but this is mine. I am the coach, and I don’t change my defenders according to Pirates or Chiefs or Sundowns. I keep mine as they are,” the coach explained.
It would be interesting to see how Solinas approaches Sunday’s Telkom Knockout quarter-final fixture against SuperSport United – a competition that could buy him time as a Chiefs coach should he win it.
The current log standings do not paint a pretty picture of Amakhosi’s title hopes, but Solinas insisted that it wasn’t over until the end of the campaign.