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Mokwena criticizes Mamelodi Sundowns' performance despite Chippa United win

09:40 GMT+3 08/02/2022
Rhulani Mokwena Mamelodi Sundowns December 2021
The charismatic tactician was not impressed and feels that Masandawana still have a lot of work to do after they defeated the Chilli Boys

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head coach Rhulani Mokwena was surprisingly critical of his side despite their win over Chippa United on Monday night.

Masandawana returned to winning ways in the Premier Soccer League in style as they brushed aside the Chilli Boys 2-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria. 

Goals from Andile Jali and Teboho Mokoena earned the defending champions the victory, but Mokwena praised the opposition's performance, who played with 10 players after Siphesihle Mkhize's first-half dismissal. 

"We knew it was going to be difficult but not this difficult. Congratulations to the team, everyone involved at the club for the win but ever since I've been here, this is probably not one of the best performances from us," Mokwena told SuperSport TV. 

"The personality of the team was something we couldn't recognise, tactically we were okay but we struggled to find the extra man, you can't do that when you're rushing and sometimes we rushed the play. 

"We want to always provoke the next line to defend the ball but we couldn't get that today, also maybe because of the defensive organization and the discipline of Chippa and you have to give them credit for that," he said. 

"We knew how difficult they are, we spoke about their physicality, you saw how they fight in the duels. We spoke about [Bienvenu] Eva Nga, his speed in relation to transitions and you could see some of the chances."

The 35-year-old explained that even though Sundowns won the match, the Tshwane giants did not play well against the relegation-threatened side, who had several opportunities to score on the night.

"But yeah we gave a lot of opportunities away and we don't want to be a team that gives the opponent a lot of chances but we did that today and it had to do with how we used the ball, how we structured when we had possession," he continued. 

"That's probably the most important thing in football [results], however, as tacticians and coaches we can't sell results, we don't have that power. Ours is to ensure the performances are good enough to be able to win football matches and sometimes even when the performance is good enough you don't win.

"But sometimes when you win and the performance is not good enough, you still have to analyse the performance because we're people of process."

The win over Chippa saw Masandawana open a 17-point lead at the top of the PSL standings, but Mokwena feels that there is still a lot of things they need to improve. 

"It's a long season, playing for the result is not gonna help us sustain the success and achieve the targets that we want," the former Orlando Pirates assistant coach added.

"So we cannot be caught in the result too much, yes good, two goals, three points, clean sheet, congratulations to the boys for getting the job done. But the reality is after today's performance is very clear that we still have a lot of work to do and a lot of things to improve."