Eric Tinkler guarding against SuperSport United fatigue in MTN8 opener against Kaizer Chiefs
Posted: 12 August 2017 Time: 13:00
SuperSport United coach Eric Tinkler is alert to the possible dangers of fatigue as they kick off their 2017/18 domestic campaign against Kaizer Chiefs today.
Matsatsantsa, like Mamelodi Sundowns, were busy well into July, when other teams had enjoyed a pre-season break and just returned for pre-season, as they ensured their passage to the quarterfinals of the CAF Confederation Cup.
After a delayed Nedbank Cup final and upon the completion of their group stage fixtures a month ago, Tinkler afforded his players just eight days' rest before they returned to prepare for the new PSL season as well as their knockout campaign on the continental front.
Now heading into their opening fixture of the season – an MTN8 quarterfinal against a rejuvenated Amakhosi outfit - Tinkler says they have been working hard to try and keep the players fresh but admits it will be a tough ask if the game goes into extra-time and penalties.
"I sat down with our sports scientist Zac [van Heerden], and we discussed the maximum time we could give the players off, while ensuring that they don't lose a lot of their physical fitness," said Tinkler.
"We felt that that period [eight days] would be sufficient enough and obviously bringing them back, depending on the intensity of our training sessions, we could bring them back to the levels they need to be.
"We've played two full 90-minute games with the squad so far and we've come through that without any complaints, so that's positive for me.
"But truth will be told come Saturday because obviously there's the other factors that come into play – it's a competitive match, it's against a big team like Chiefs, so there's a lot of nervousness and anxiety that will also have an effect, which could lead to quicker fatigue from the players.
"We know that we're possibly going to be playing 120 minutes of football, so those are things we will only find out come Saturday."
Kick-off of the clash at the Moses Mabhida Stadium is set for 20h15.
Having beaten Steve Komphela's side in last season's opening fixture with Cape Town City, Tinkler rules out having any psychological advantage this time around.
"No [advantage], because no two games are ever the same, and no two seasons are ever the same," he said.
"I think watching them [Chiefs] against Orlando Pirates the other day [in the Carling Black Label Cup], they looked extremely organised, their transitional play and pressing was very good.
"I think it's a complete different game, Steve knows me better and I know him better, and obviously we've got to apply ourselves completely differently to what it was a year ago.
"It's not going to be an easy challenge but we're up for the challenge – that's what's important."