‘The Team of Choice’ will not be in defensive mode for their Nedbank Cup Last 16 encounter against Orlando Pirates at Harry Gwala Stadium on Saturday evening (18:00).
Maritzburg United, according to head coach Ernst Middendorp will run on to the pitch with the intention of throwing everything but the kitchen sink at Pirates.
Middendorp’s men beat GladAfrica Championship side Sekhukhune United to reach the Last 16 but they have been poor in the DStv Premiership with four consecutive defeat – bottom of the log standings.
However, the German coach is optimistic that his charges will rise to the occasion and cause an upset this time around as they suffered a narrow 1-0 defeat last month against the ‘Buccaneers’ in the league.
“We must target ourselves more in terms of being consistent for more than 90 minutes,” said Middendorp.
“We are not capable of keeping the intensity for a certain number of minutes. Every game is important, and we have found a very clear structure the next game‚ which is the most important one.
“We have close to 15 games in front of us in the coming months and we must handle them properly. We are fully focused on Pirates on Saturday and we will do everything to qualify for the next round. There is always pressure‚ everybody knows.
“Without a doubt this is definitely a draw that we are aware of because it is against one of the strongest teams you could play. We are preparing ourselves adequately and we recently had the experience of playing against Pirates in the league,” he added.
Middendorp believes there have been some improvements since he took over at Maritzburg three months ago. “If a team at the beginning of the season has played six games and not picked up a point‚ that says something,” he said.
“When I arrived‚ we had a clear approach and a little bit of a run of collecting points but if the team goes into a certain movement‚ behaviour or attitude again‚ then you definitely have to do something.
“We must identify the inner structure and look what is possible and what the reasons are for this inconsistency.
“There is a certain concern already since December that we have to do something. We had to make changes and in the last four to five weeks we have done that.
“When I came it was zero points after six games and I made it clear immediately at that time that this is the project that will not be finalised in January or February or March.
“I repeated this in January when we picked up some points that it doesn’t mean anything. I said this is a project that will be finished in May and I have repeated this consistently,” concluded the Maritzburg mentor.
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By Tokelo Martin Mokhesi
all pictures courtesy of Maritzburg United