Kaizer Chiefs had the wrong mindset‚ coach Ernst Middendorp says after his Premiership leaders’ shock 1-0 defeat at the hands of last-placed AmaZulu on Saturday‚ alluding to Amakhosi not adjusting to the comedown from a Soweto derby win the previous week.
There was always a danger Chiefs might struggle — coming off a 1-0 win over Orlando Pirates two Saturdays ago — to contend with the comedown of meeting bottom-side Usuthu.
Amakhosi might have hoped the tangible scent of a league title — having confounded predictions of cracking under pressure with the win against Pirates — would be the carrot that kept the intensity up against AmaZulu.
Instead‚ with a static line-up put out by Middendorp‚ Chiefs were flat. They had no real ingenuity in their game plan‚ little individual creativity and practically nothing in the way of dynamic combination play to break down a resolute Usuthu.
Middendorp blamed the defeat and a poor performance on the comedown.
“We have definitely not picked up a huge opportunity to make a step into the right direction‚” the coach admitted.” As you see all over the world‚ such games you are only able to handle properly if your mindset is in the field. We definitely had a lot of moments where it was just too casual.
“A huge opportunity too‚ in front of the goalkeeper [by Leonardo Castro in the first half] and we missed the chance of going to 1-0.
“And then in the critical stage‚ with five minutes to the end of the first half‚ just not seeing the blind side‚ with enough time to track the player [for Bonginkosi Ntuli’s 44th-minute strike].
“These are all moments that make it difficult going into the second half‚ where you play against a wall. In the end it was quite a confusing game from our side.
“Compliments to AmaZulu‚ but I think we will definitely assess this game and prepare for Bidvest wits on March 18. But hopefully we will have another mindset on the field.”