What title decider? Mamelodi Sundowns downplaying Tshwane derby
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JOHANNESBURG - Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has downplayed any aspirations of treating their clash against arch-rivals SuperSport United as a potential title decider, saying their focus is to reach their target of 12 points after five matches.
There are four matches remaining before the Brazilians’ league campaign comes to an end.
At the moment, they are sitting at the summit of the Premiership standings with 57 points, seven ahead of second-placed AmaZulu who have played a game more.
Sundowns will cross paths with SuperSport today at Lucas “Masterpieces” Moripe Stadium where a win will guarantee them their fourth championship in a row. But Mngqithi is not getting carried away, saying they just want to improve their record.
“According to our process this is the second match of our last cycle of five games.
“So, our intention is to try to make sure that we achieve our target in the last four matches. And it just happens that SuperSport can decide the championship,” Mngqithi said.
“But the intention is to get the number of points that we have targeted.
“And, as it is now, it’s just that we
are short of nine points in this cycle. And it would be nice if we can get 12. We are not putting a lot of pressure on the players to look at this game as a title decider.
“We still want them to give the same energy in the last three matches because for us it’s important to win all our matches and try to achieve our targets.
“If we can get 12 points that can also help us in some of the cycles where we didn’t do well.”
A win for Sundowns against SuperSport will not only see them win the league title, but it will also serve as a consolation after a 3-1 aggregate defeat to Al Ahly saw them knocked out of the Caf Champions League quarter-finals last weekend.
Mngqithi is not dwelling much on their defeat against the team of his former superior Pitso Mosimane, instead he reckons that winning their last three matches against Swallows, Bloemfontein Celtic and Cape Town City will set a tone for their preparations for next season.
“It is also for the legacy of the players to know how they won the league and how much of a fight it was," he said.
“It is also about how they did in the six cycles of five matches, so that in future we should know where we should improve and where our benchmark is.”
Unlike Sundowns who have been consistent in the league after suffering one defeat in 26 matches, SuperSport have had a turbulent season.
They started well, and were among the pacesetters, but they stumbled in the last push for the title as they are sixth with 41 points.
“They may not be in a favourable position, but the truth of the matter is that they won their last match. They are coming back now and are showing very good signs. They are a very decent team.
(Bradly) Grobler is still the top goal scorer in the league,” Mngqithi said.