Eric Tinkler. Picture: SUPPLIED
Eric Tinkler. Picture: SUPPLIED

Eric Tinkler’s last spell in the Mother City was covered in glory as he took Cape Town City to third place and a trophy in their maiden season.

But the fickle nature of the game is no better exemplified than in the struggles he is under at SuperSport United after changing jobs in the off-season.

"It’s been very difficult, to be honest‚" he said after Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Ajax Cape Town at the Athlone Stadium threatened SuperSport with the possibility of being sucked into a relegation dogfight.

"The players respond to me and I’ve got to be brave enough to take responsibility for the losses. I’ve also got to keep the players motivated. It’s a completely different scenario to what I faced [last season]. It’s been a long season… or seasons… for these guys and we’ve just got to find ways to ensure we pick up maximum points in our next seven games."

Tinkler said he still felt a desire for success despite the turmoil at the club.

"My hunger has always been there. I’ve been in this situation many times as a player and as a coach. I have to remain positive and believe we have enough depth in our squad to get us out of this conundrum that we find ourselves in," he said.

"Players have to step up… they have to step up. It’s very easy to point fingers here and there and that’s what happens when you find yourself in situations like this.

"When things are good no one points fingers‚ but when things are bad‚ everybody is out pointing fingers," he said.

Tinkler said it would now be a mental test with a home game next against high-flying Maritzburg United at Atteridgeville on Saturday.

"We can’t keep saying week in week out that we are too good a squad to be sucked into the relegation battle.

"It’s just the harsh reality. That’s where we find ourselves right now and we’ve got to be strong enough mentally to get ourselves out of the position.

"We need to obviously‚ at the training ground‚ relay that message to the players that we need to get a result against Maritzburg and that we can’t allow complacency or the confidence to drop. I’ve seen us play a lot worse than we did against Ajax.

"I kind of take the positives from that but we still have to be a lot better — going forward when we have to and insuring things at the back.

"We cannot‚ week in‚ week out‚ be talking about the same thing and continue making the same mistakes.

"We have to rectify that‚" the coach added.