Kaizer Chiefs coach Ernst Middendorp has conceded his side are not yet at their “real performance” level, as he looks to continue building towards their peak.
Chiefs have had an exceptional start to the season by their own standards in recent years, managing an incredible turnaround from ending last season in ninth place on the table to now sitting top of the log after eight games.
Amakhosi have won six of their opening matches, drawing one and losing just one, while also boasting the best goal difference thus far, but Middendorp is adamant they are not peaking too early as they have not yet reached their best level of performance.
“For me it’s a normal way to have some work in terms of managing the individual tolerances of the players, in terms of loading them, in particular knowing there are guys coming back from a long injury,” said Middendorp.
“I always [ensure], we go into it to really push and overload them with an intention for progress and, being out [of action] for the FIFA break, by the middle of October we will definitely go into maintenance.
“Sometimes playing three games in seven days is not really comfortable but, okay, it belongs to the business and we have to manage it in the moment.
“Internally we’ve had a lot of discussion, you know guys coming with the Tuckman Model, which says after 90 days you must rock.
“But this model is not for soccer because there are so many parameters – you don’t know injuries; you don’t know how far players coming from other continents are, and it’s not all – you have to look at the real performance coming a bit later.
“It’s a question of confidence, when we score a goal, all of a sudden we show for five or 10 minutes a bit of combination play and what we can offer normally, and our target should be to get that sort of play for 70-75 percent of the game.
“We know we don’t have our best performance level for 90 minutes on the field yet.”