City’s narrow 1-0 win over AmaZulu on Friday was just their first win in five games, as they see out the year with a tough fixture against a Brazilians side that are enjoying a seven-match unbeaten run.
McCarthy knows it’ll be a tough challenge his charges will be keen for, but hopes Sundowns are not in the merciless mood they’ve been in of late after putting four past both Bloemfontein Celtic and Baroka FC in recent matches.
“It’s a good challenge,” the City head coach said. “When you play Chiefs, Sundowns, Pirates or Wits, you hardly need motivation. They’ll be psyched up for it, with all the players wanting to put their hand up and be part of that game. But if we are too cautious, we will allow Sundowns to take control and do what they do and kill teams off, and I just hope we don’t get a beating like Baroka did against them.”
Yet with this being Downs’ fifth game in the space of 14 days, having had to grind out hard-fought 1-0 wins over Golden Arrows and Maritzburg United in that period, McCarthy feels his side could capitalise and upset the apple cart.
“Sundowns played on the weekend, then midweek, then on Saturday and then they play us again, so they’ve played a lot of games with a lot of 1-0 wins, which is unlike the Sundowns team,” McCarthy reasoned. “This shows that too many games continuously are catching up with them, which could be our opportunity to spring one over them.”
The Citizens coach says he’s given a lot of thought into how he will set up against the high-flying Tshwane team, knowing that his tactics will have to be spot on to thwart Pitso Mosimane and his men.
“I’m going to go for football, and not try hold back and grind out a result, because of course I want to win,” he said. “But if you sit back against a team like Sundowns with the players they have, we would play right into their hands, so we have to do the unexpected and try and match them.
“I might have to mix it up a bit and give some guys a break and go for a hard-working team to try and match Sundowns. With the talented players they have, we might also give our flair players an opportunity, since it’s our last game before Christmas, and some of us might not be coming back,” he wryly added.
Kick-off at Loftus is set for 19h30.