Micho likens Matlaba to Lahm
Posted: 13 September 2017 Time: 09:31
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic has compared Thabo Matlaba’s versatility to that of Bayern Munich and German legend Philipp Lahm.
This was after the Bucs captain played in central midfield in Tuesday night’s 1-0 victory over Ajax Cape Town at Orlando Stadium.
Matlaba, who has been playing as a right or left back at Pirates, was a surprise pick to play alongside man of the match Musa Nyatama and Mpho Makola in the centre of the park.
Sredojevic hinted that he is likely to play him there in future as he feels he can excel in any position, like Lahm did for club and country. At one point, former Bayern coach Pep Guardiola played Lahm, who played at right or left back, in central midfield and he did not look out of place.
“He is [the] Philipp Lahm of South African football,” Sredojevic said.
“He can play as a right back, left fullback and he can play in the middle. His work rate has been correct and we can use him there because, in a way, we wanted to have a deep playmaker, where we also had Musa Nyatama who won the man of the match. I want to congratulate him, he has really worked hard.
“So Matlaba has that balance to give Nyatama and Makola freedom in the midfield, to support the attack and to protect the defense. I believe he has done well.”
Sredojevic continued: “He has worked very hard and we tried him there due to the fact that as I said, that for me he is the Philipp Lahm of South African football. You have seen Lahm over the years, he played left fullback and then right fullback before Guardiola brought him to the central midfield and he played there.
“A good player can play anywhere and in the approach that we are having, I would like to work with the player that cannot make excuses. Players who can say the coach is putting me out of position, we want to put a culture where players need to accept anything where the coach put him to play. For that to happen, we are rotating them in positions so that they could never say I won’t play there.”