Baxter praises ‘cold, clinical’ players
Posted: 24 June 2017 Time: 22:36
Stuart Baxter was full of praise for his players as they thumped Orlando Pirates 4-1 to retain the Nedbank Cup title and provide a winning finale for him as he heads up to take the reins of the South African national side on a fulltime basis.
Goals from Bradley Grobler (two), Jeremy Brockie and Kingston Nkhatha sealed a famous win for Matsatsantsa on a night when they probably should have scored more as Brockie missed a penalty and the team wasted numerous other opportunities.
“The lads gave a fantastic performance,” Baxter told SuperSport TV. “The first half was what we expected it to be, it was a bit cut-and-thrust. But once we got ourselves in front we were comfortable with the game-plan.
“Dare I say it could have run away to five or six [goals], and then we give up a penalty at the finish. I will try not to let that spoil my evening!
“We knew the way that games are when you play Pirates, there are individual skills that you have to negate, but what makes them strong also makes them weak at times.
“We needed to utilise that better and we changed a couple of things at halftime. Once we got ourselves in front, it became more and more obvious they were going to struggle because the more they opened, the more we hurt them.
“I thought the players were marvellous, their tactical awareness, to run the game in a cup final like they did, it was so cold, so clinical.”
Baxter says he does not believe the fact that his side have been playing in the African Confederation Cup, while Pirates were inactive for almost a month, had much to do with the result.
“If we had lost, we would have said we were tired. We will always find excised as coaches.”
Baxter also refused to take the credit for the win, and says he is looking forward to the next chapter in his career.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team, the supporters and the football club. For me it’s a trophy and it’s nice on my CV. I like winning, so obviously I want to win trophies. I can’t thank the players or the football club enough.
“I am really proud to be the Bafana coach, I want to do as well as I can there, hopefully we will follow up the Nigeria result with a period of development where everybody gets on board and we see a clear South African way forward.”