JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane has questioned whether Eric Tinkler is the right man for SuperSport United, remarks sparked by the latter’s suggestion that he had won the tactical battle between the two in the Tshwane Derby against Mamelodi Sundowns on Saturday night.
Tinkler was asked shortly after the 1-1 stalemate at the Lucas Moripe Stadium if how he set up his team was perhaps ultra defensive, to which he replied that SuperSport had “a bus in defence and a Ferrari in attack, and maybe he (Mosimane) was not ready for the Ferrari”.
Slightly peeved by those comments, given that the Brazilians, Absa Premiership log leaders, were dominant throughout the 90 minutes, Mosimane then hit back by highlighting SuperSport’s current slump.
“We have never seen SuperSport where they are (11th place on the log standings) in many years. This never happened when I was coach, when Gavin Hunt was coach and even when Cavin Johnson was there,” Mosimane said in a stinging post match interview.
“They have two wins in 13 matches. I think Eric should focus on getting out of the relegation zone first before he can talk about Ferraris. We played a highline and risked it with Ricardo (Nascimento) who has got no speed because we were not prepared to settle for a point.
"I saw them playing with five defenders. They did very well. Their game plan was good, and Eric needed a point. He parked the bus. What Ferrari was he talking about? And he is lucky we didn’t get penalties because Percy Tau was fouled. Eric must manage his problems in Africa (CAF tournaments). I am waiting to advise him.”
Tinkler, who has attributed the poor form to a taxing schedule in last year’s Confederation Cup, revealed that he’d worked on his formation for the derby earlier in the week and praised his men for adapting to it quickly and preventing Sundowns from humiliating them, instead forcing the Brazilians to come from behind after Tau cancelled out Thabo Mnyamane’s early first half goal.
The opener came following a long ball played behind the Sundowns central pairing and was finished well by Mnyamane in the 11th minute.
“It was what we planned and actually it was extremely effective for us,” Tinkler said. “If you watched our past couple of games, (Evans) Rusike can be isolated alone upfront and hence the fact we opted to go with the two. We opted to tell them not to defend, but look to play off the two central defenders because we would defend with eight and find our strikers on the transition. And it was effective.”
Mosimane, of course, disagreed: “No. We were not caught square. We want to win. We are always the aggressors - 95 percent of the goals we have conceded are like this. Barcelona also concedes goals like this,” said Mosimane.
“Should I play five at the back like Eric? And then what do you get out of that? What is your story? What do you write? The counter-attack? That can’t be the summary of the whole match.
"But with us, you can talk about Percy, Themba Zwane, Sibusiso Vilakazi carrying the whole team, Gaston Sirino trying to find angles and Thapelo Morena’s overlaps. Those are good stories. Going to Zamalek in the Champions League final and I play a highline. Until SuperSport play a highline, they can’t talk to me.”