JOHANNESBURG – Chippa United coach Clinton Larsen has credited his team’s defensive unit and structure following a 2-1 win over Mamelodi Sundowns in the last-32 of the Nedbank Cup.
The result against Downs ensured that Chippa progressed to the next round of the competition but the bigger picture was about reviving their confidence.
The Chilli Boys sealed their second successive win of the season after previously beating Maritzburg United in a league encounter two weeks back - something that was a huge morale booster as they are looking to escape the axe. Moreover, their back-to-back wins is a feat that they had never achieved before, as they only had two wins in the league before so far this season
“It must have been an exciting cup-tie for the supporters but it was nerve-wracking for the technical stuff,” Larsen said. “We knew it was going to be a difficult. But I think that our defensive tenacity and structure really showed when it was needed.
Credit should go to the players because they can now go around proud of wearing this Chippa jersey. It’s now two successive wins and you can see the feel-good factor is now back.”
Larsen’s primary target at Chippa is steering them out of their bottom half of their table as they are currently occupying the 15th spot on the log while they are four points clear of the Team of Choice - who are at the foot of the log.
“We’ve got our eye on the big prize which is great but getting out of the bottom four is important,” Larsen said. “At the same time, a cup run is four games and you are in the final. If this opportunity presents itself to us, we are going to try and maximise it.
Beating a team like Sundowns could give us a bit of confidence going into the next draw. (Then) I don’t really see it as a gamble (trying to remain afloat, while playing in the competition) because when we assessed our squad, we’ve got a lot of depth in all departments.”
The 12th man and the real MVP 🔥🌶— Chippa United FC (@ChippaUnitedFC) January 27, 2019
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Larsen’s predecessors, Dan Malesela and Joel Masutha were relieved off their duties after a string of poor results in the league. In came Larsen.
The 47-year-old coach has brought confidence to the Chilli Boys’ camp. However, the former Golden Arrows coach is not taking all the credit as he believes that that the team is duplicating what they do on their training sessions.
“They players have really trained well in the last two weeks, and they were rewarded with another victory,” Larsen said.
“I am just happy for them. From our side (the technical team), we’ll just work hard and hopefully we’ll continue with the momentum."