Lid Lifted After Vital PSL Weekend Win
The battle for a spot in next season’s Absa Premiership is well and truly on, and Eric Tinkler has spoken after Maritzburg United put themselves to the top of the pile over the weekend.
A single goal from Thabiso Kutumela was enough to give his side a 1-0 win over Royal Eagles, putting them top of the play-offs on goal difference after their opponents had beaten Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivandila by the same scoreline in their opening game.
Maritzburg are undoubtedly favourites to survive the drop and maintain their place in South Africa’s top-flight due to their long-term status in the Absa Premiership, and the fact that they are currently four games unbeaten – their longest run without defeat in 2019 – certainly bodes well for them at this stage against National First Division oppositon.
Speaking to the club’s official website after their opening win, Tinkler said, “I don’t think we started very well… The first ten minutes of the game we said to the guys it was important to start on the front foot and press them, but then we reacted after that.
"It was always going to be that fear in my mind. Psychologically are they ready to play the play-offs and you’re only going to know that once the referee blew that whistle. We looked a little nervous but then we settled.”
Tinkler also lifted the lid on what he though has been a tough aspect of prepraring his troops, adding, “The job has been tough more on the psychology side, the footballing side I have not looked to make massive changes. I tried to go back to the principles that they knew and I tried to add one or two elements like playing with more speed, depth and penetration.
“I think a lot of the work has been psychologically, working on the players individually and collectively, putting them in the right frame of mind and ensuring that they understand the importance of their future and the club’s future.”
Next up for the Team of Choice is TTM on Wednesday afternoon, and Tinkler is hoping their ability will shine through against the NFD side, saying, “You can’t underestimate them but the biggest challenge is not underestimating yourself… It’s very important to respect the opposition, know their qualities are but let’s not forget how good we are both individually and collectively."
Maritzburg face TTM on Wednesday afternoon at 15h00.