Sundowns’ feet on ground after flying Champions League start
Coach Rulani Mokwena says huge amount of work remains to be done
Sundowns may be one of the favourites to win the CAF Champions League this season but coach Rulani Mokwena is not thinking that far ahead as he wants his players to keep their feet firmly on the ground.
The Brazilians, fresh from winning the African Football League (AFL) title recently, got their Champions League campaign off to a perfect start when they thumped Nouadhibou 3-0 at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on Sunday.
Strikes by Lucas Costa, Peter Shalulile and Gaston Sirino fired Masandawana to victory.
Sundowns have an early lead in Group A on goal difference ahead of second-placed Pyramids, who beat TP Mazembe 1-0 in Cairo on Friday.
But Mokwena said there was still a lot of work to be done to reach their targets.
“The most important thing for us is we know where the standard is and the standard is not in terms of what everyone sees,” the coach said at the post-match press conference.
“What we see is the 90 minutes, what happens behind that is the hours of preparations and there is a certain standard we’ve set and there is no compromise the players know.
“It was very important that we had the entire group coming back for the first time together.
“We had a very important discussion about it. That’s number one because that’s where everything lies.
“There are no hidden secrets to our success.
“We’ve got to where we are because of the work we do and the amount of attention to detail that we try to put in. That we will never have a compromise and that’s number one to say.
“Number two, of course, it helps when you have a squad of players that understand the importance of that and this group is maturing. They have a strong brotherhood.
“They work and fight for each other and that also makes it a little easier.
“Number three, the talks become a bit easier to receive. These games are tough.”
Mokwena also emphasised the need to remain grounded and focus on working hard and not think about winning the title yet.
“We are trying to make sure we are setting specific targets and we work towards that day by day and keep our feet firmly on the ground and not get too far ahead of ourselves,” he said.
“Because that only leads to disaster and the most important thing out of everything is we have a squad of very good human beings who understand the task, the goals, the ambitions and also understand the process.”
Sundowns now shift their focus to the Premiership, where they will face SuperSport United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday.
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