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'Huge credit to Komphela' - Mamelodi Sundowns' Mokwena lauds ex-Kaizer Chiefs coach after Orlando Pirates win

4:32 PM EST 12/17/21
Steve Komphela & Rhulani Mokwena, Mamelodi Sundowns coaches, January 2021
The reigning PSL Coach of the Month also praised Safranko, who came off the bench to score twice

Mamelodi Sundowns co-head-coach Rhulani Mokwena gave credit to his colleague Steve Komphela after the Tshwane giants hammered Orlando Pirates on Friday night.

Masandawana an 18-point gap at the top of the PSL standings after defeating the Buccaneers 4-1 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium with Pavol Safranko (brace), Themba Zwane and Peter Shalulile scoring for the hosts.

"Compliments to Pirates for the start, it was clear that they worked very hard on their schemes, they pressed us well in the first couple of minutes and they build up very well with one ball that came from Ben and our midfield was a little bit too far out," Mokwena told SuperSport TV.

"And it was the first time they did that build up because we watched their game, normally they don't engage with the central midfielders but we sorted that, we worked a little bit harder on it.

"Their structure gave us a couple of problems because they play a little bit awkward and they are comfortable doing that, they play that way every single day and it works for them when Paseka [Mako] inverts a little bit and becomes a third centre-back, Hotto becomes a wing-back."

"And when Hotto becomes a wing-back, they look to overload the midfield with Neverdie [Makhubela], [Thembinkosi] Lorch and it becomes a box in midfield, we had a lot of problems dealing with four versus two, especially when they go short," he continued.

"It was better for us when we forced them to go long and we could deal with the two that is engaging the striker but when they play there's a four across and to press, so we struggled a little bit. 

"On the second-half we changed things a little bit, we pushed our full-backs a little bit higher so that we could draw their full-backs out because we could do that, we could overload a little bit their centre-halves and the players did very well tactically to adapt to the instructions at half-time." 

Three of Sundowns' goals came from set-pieces and Mokwena revealed that Komphela, who is the club's senior coach, has been taking charge of the team's set-piece training. 

"We've just got players who listen and are coachable, who are humble, you can see that if you look at who scored the goals, Pavol scored, we were a little bit unfair to him in the previous match," he continued.

"We took him off but no sulking, no attitude, comes back, gets an opportunity and does the job. But I've got also to reserve credit to one Steve Komphela because he's been working very hard on set-pieces, every time we do the tactical work Steve takes the players and they do more of the set-pieces.

"And it was good to see we scored the three goals [from set-pieces], huge credit to Steve and the analysts for the work they did in relation to the set-pieces."