November 25, 2020

We messed it up – Kaizer Chiefs coach Middendorp after his side blew up chance to extend lead

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The Soweto giants let slip their lead when it appeared they were poised to claim maximum points against Bidvest Wits

Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has admitted that they were their own biggest enemies after allowing Bidvest Wits to claw back late for a 1-1 Premier Soccer League (PSL) draw at Orlando Stadium.

It was a frustrating season restart for Middendorp and his men who were thrust ahead by Samir Nurkovic on 36 minutes before Cole Alexander hit back for Wits right at the death.

The disappointment in Middendorp came as they spurned the chance to extend their lead from four to seven at the top of the table after second-placed Mamelodi Sundowns played to a 0-0 draw with Orlando Pirates 24 hours earlier.

“It’s a game after five months. Our first game so far,” Middendorp told SuperSport TV.

“I think we messed it a little bit up in our moments in the first half where we had counter-attacked, when we had this transition. Let’s say sometimes four against three or five against three, we have to make more out of it. I think that is the dilemma we have to discuss.”

Looking at the calibre of their opponents, Middendorp however says bagging a point was better despite his side lacking character to hold on to their slender lead.

“I think absolutely let me use the words of another coach in the PSL. It’s Wits, it’s Wits. Wits are a good team,” said Middendorp.

“We took a point here under the circumstances in a run and for me it’s clear it was better getting a point today. It’s another seven games to go. We have to be alert at any time. Games against each team in this remaining three weeks will be the same.

“There is a fight, there is the spirit. Everybody is fighting for something; staying in the, fighting for winning the championship, fighting for a position in the top eight and it is something like this.

“I’m quite sure we will [fight] with the potential we have, this transition opportunities, going in five against three forwards, we will do better. I’m quite sure. You can push it nicely in training sessions but the game is different.”

Chiefs now prepare to face Polokwane City in their next match on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Wits coach Gavin Hunt feels that they blew an opportunity to beat Chiefs because they lacked more bite upfront.

Wits played Chiefs on the backdrop of being eliminated from the Nedbank Cup by Mamelodi Sundowns last weekend.

Hunt feels that his players’ commitment deserved much more than a winless run in their last two games, saying if they had prolific finisher they would have already won the league by now.

“We are very disappointed. I thought we should have won the game,” Hunt said.

“With everything that’s going on in our lives, the football club, the players and myself, it looks like it was against us again you know. We got a bit of a reward but I felt really we had them, similar to Saturday [against Sundowns], you know, you have got to score. We didn’t score and we had great chances to score tonight.

“Certainly we were the better ones and that one at the end, from our pressing we hit the post and the ball is in the box. But it’s been the story of our season. So if we had a 15-goal striker we would have won the league by now. But it is what it is. We will battle on.

“I just feel for the players. They are putting it in, they are giving it their all, they deserve much more than Saturday and tonight. They deserve much more than that. But that’s football sometimes, that’s life. But we have got to be strong and keep it together for the next three weeks.”

Wits’ bid to pick themselves up from their last two games faces a stern challenge on Saturday when they come up against Orlando Pirates.