'I was not impressed' - Mamelodi Sundowns coach Mngqithi slams defence

09:50 EAT 21/12/2021
Manqoba Mngqithi
Three days after an impressive victory over Orlando Pirates, Masandawana were stunned in Durban

Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi has lashed out at his team’s defence after Monday’s 1-0 defeat by AmaZulu at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium.

It was Sundowns’ first Premier Soccer League defeat of the season as they succumbed to substitute Augustine Mulenga’s goal.

With Mosa Lebusa and Grant Kekana unavailable, Masandawana coaches started the pair of Ricardo Nascimento and Rushine De Reuck at the heart of defence while Thapelo Morena and Lyle Lakay were the wing-backs.

But after witnessing his side conceding their eighth goal in 18 games, three days after beating Orlando Pirates 4-1, Mngqithi was left hitting out at his defence.

“It was one of those games, I was not impressed with our play. I don’t think we were incisive enough. I don’t think we forced the opponents on their back foot a lot,” Mngqithi told SuperSport TV.

“There are many instances in the first half where we kept the ball in nice diagonal half-space but we would lose possession immediately instead of progressing our attack. The goal we conceded was merely an outcome of the poorest defence.

“Mulenga had just come on and at the time [Luvuyo] Memela was in a position of a striker and our centre-backs pulled off. And when you pull off, at that time Mulenga was making a run between Ricardo and Lyle Lakay. It became very clear to me that if we survive that one, we would be very lucky.

“We were caught very open and it’s unlike us. But it’s a game of football, you must expect such things but the truth of the matter is we were not at our sharpest point. Maybe the previous game [against Orlando Pirates] took a lot from us and losing Rivaldo [Coetzee] very early in the had had an impact on our performance.

“I’m not making an excuse but I’m just saying we were not at the normal level you would expect from us. We gave the ball away for too long. I think it’s one of those games where we conceded a lot of counter-attacks. We normally don’t concede so many counter-attacks. Our freshness in terms of counter-pressing was not at its best.”

After avoiding conceding goals for the first 10 games of the season, Sundowns’ defence only leaked for the first time on November 24.

Since then, they have shipped in goals in five of their six matches played in December.

“Congratulations to AmaZulu. They gave it a fight and they gave their all into the game, they fought very hard, they wanted it. We also wanted it but unfortunately at the end of the day, the chance they created was merely an opportunity created by our poorest defence,” said Mngqithi.

Sundowns now prepare to host Marumo Gallants on Thursday.