After a disappointing 3-0 defeat to Cape Town City on Saturday night, AmaZulu are determined to bounce back when they host Orlando Pirates in the quarter-finals of the Telkom Knockout this coming weekend.
While AmaZulu coach Cavin Johnson was understandably disgruntled by the tame manner in which his team capitulated at the Cape Town Stadium, he was confident of improvement against the Buccaneers.
His confidence stems from the fact that AmaZulu have been impressive at home this season.
“We have to be more aggressive, we have to play the way I know we can,” said Johnson after the City defeat. “This team can play football; just ask those who have faced us at King Zwelithini this season.
“Pirates are on a high after their win over Chiefs at the weekend. But it should be a nice game when they face us. When you play Pirates, Chiefs or Sundowns, it’s as if players get an injection up the backside.
“They are quicker, their head is clearer, and they understand the tactics better. It should be the same for us this weekend.”
Reflecting on AmaZulu’s sub-standard showing against Benni McCarthy’s City, Johnson said: “We played poorly. I knew that we would be in for a tough time in Cape Town. I’ve coached here before at Ajax, so I understand the football.
“I knew that, coming to Cape Town, my team needed to be prepared to fight. We didn’t. We made mistakes, and the technical quality was non-existent.
“Yes, sometimes the ball didn’t go for us – but even so, the players should still have given more effort; they should still, at least, have tried to hold the ball better.
“Last Tuesday, we gave City a run for their money and beat them in Durban. Today’s (Saturday) game (at Cape Town Stadium) was always going to be more important.
“We have to go back and look at this performance. We made technical mistakes. There is a lot to think about,” Coach Cavin Johnson #AbsaPrem #DurbanHasMore #Usuthu_Unite #UkhoziFM #IlangaNewspaper pic.twitter.com/UV8nhzwXDU
“But when you ask certain things of your players and they play like they did, then as a coach, you have to ask a few questions: Do I make changes and rotate as some other coaches do?
“For me, my philosophy has always been that if you play well, then you play again. But after that poor performance against City, perhaps I should change my thinking, perhaps it doesn’t work for my team.”