Mngqithi: We were not at our normal level


Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Manqoba Mngqithi admits his side were not at their 'sharpest' against AmaZulu on Monday.

Usuthu became the first side to defeat Sundowns this season after courtesy of a late goal by substitute Augustine Mulenga at Jonsson Kings Park Stadium.

Mngqithi says their rest defence was poor in allowing Luvuyo Memela space to make a through ball that led to the goal and also lamented the lack of freshness.

"I think it's one of those games where I was never really impressed with our play, I don't think we were incisive enough, I don't think we forced the opponent in their back foot a lot," Mngqithi told SuperSport TV.

"Many instances in the first-half where we get a nice diagonal half space but we lose immediately the possession instead of progressing our attack.

"And the goal that we conceded was merely an outcome of poor rest defence and immediately when Memela, because Mulenga had just come in and Memela at that time was in a position of a striker and our centre-backs pulled off.

"And when you pull off and you've got a player like Memela, at that time Mulenga was making a run in between Ricardo and Lyle Lakay and it became very clear to me that if we survive in that one we would be very lucky because we were caught very open and it's unlike us.

"But it's a game of football you must expect these things, the truth of the matter is we were not at our sharpest point, maybe the previous game took a lot from us and losing Rivaldo very early in the match had a big impact in our performance.

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"But in total we never had a very fresh performance, I'm not making an excuse but I'm just saying we were not at our normal level you'd expect from us. We gave the ball away for too long and I think it's one of the game we've conceded a lot of counter-attacks, we normally don't concede so many counter-attacks.

"And our freshness in terms of counter-pressing and all that was not at it's best, congratulations to AmaZulu, they gave it a fight, they gave their all into the game, they wanted it, we also wanted it but unfortunately I think on the day the chance they created was nearly a clear opportunity that was created by our poor rest defence," he continued.

"We knew, the most unfortunate part when you're running with this run of not having lost a match you're a little bit edgy, you always say you want to give it your best shot, you look at the number of games we've played in the last maybe two weeks, you realise the load has been too much.

"Maybe that's why players like Rivaldo had muscle issues but the truth of the matter I knew Benni would give it his all, even in the line-up he setup, have you ever seen Sikhakhane [defender] playing as a winger? On the other side they've got Qalinge, they've got Memela as a ten and up top they got Bongi who was holding everything and bringing everyone into play.

"They put us a fight we tried but we were not incisive enough, at times not patient enough, at times we played too many one touches and ended up losing possession in wrong areas.

"The pitch conditions also were not at their best level, the ball was bouncing all over but we must give credit to AmaZulu as well and not take everything away from them, I think they also gave a very good fight, you could see they wanted to win, they fought from the beginning up until the end."

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