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Goal senior writer Ernest Makhaya caught up with Kaizer Chiefs striker Katlego Mphela, who spoke about his time at AmaKhosi and his ambitions for the upcoming season

EXCLUSIVE
By Ernest Makhaya

Goal: Killer, thanks very much for making time to chat to us. Firstly, how important was it for you to score your first goal in Chiefs colours this season, than waiting for the upcoming season and were you, at any stage under pressure to score?

Mphela: There's always pressure as a striker especially if you're playing for a big team like Chiefs. Scoring the first goal was always going to be important for me. My confidence is coming back and my fitness is coming. I'll be more relaxed next season.

Goal: Stuart Baxter said he doesn't want to be too critical of you because you only joined the team midway through the season, but what do you make of your performances since joining Chiefs?

Mphela: I'm critical to myself. I think with the game time that I have been given so far, I think I have done well, but I could have done better. I didn't play enough games, but when I was given a chance I think in most of the games I tried to change the game and we won some and lost some.

Goal: How is the level of competition at Chiefs compared to the other teams that you previously played for?

Mphela: The level of competition is different here compared to when I was at SuperSport and Sundowns. Chiefs are a big brand...other teams are big as well but at Chiefs, you always have to be at the top. You have to play like you've never played before. There's only quality here. There's Parker, Knowledge and Nkhatha. So, you have to fight for your place. Most of the seasons I was the main striker and competition wasn't that tough, but it is different here and you could see that everyone is working hard. It was very difficult for me when I joined the team, but I understood as the time went by.

Goal: How are you dealing with expectations from the millions of Kaizer Chiefs fans that know your capabalities?

Mphela: I'm trying to forget about the expectations from the fans, but I know that they're expecting a lot from me. For me, it has been all about next season and getting to know the guys. Next season will be a different story.

Goal: What do you think was the problem for the team to fail to defend its league title this season? 

Mphela: Consistency is the reason we failed to win the league. Sundowns were consistent and we dropped points when it mattered most. The game against Maritzburg United and Sundowns, but most importantly I think we lost the league when we lost to Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Goal: You've worked with both Pitso Mosimane and Stuart Baxter in the past. Now, how would you compare the two coaches and which one gets the best out of you?

Mphela: Their philosophies are different, but they're both great coaches. Pitso speaks whenever he wants, but Stuart is more reserved and does his work. He (Baxter) is a good tactictian but they are both on the same level. I enjoyed working with Pitso and I worked with Stuart before and I'm enjoying working with him now. So, I think there's a big difference between them, but they're both great coaches.

Goal: You were once the league top goalscorer with 17 goals, but our strikers have been struggling to get more than 15 goals in recent seasons. What do you think has been the problem?

Mphela: The standard of football has changed. The teams are more organized now and it's difficult for the strikers to get goals in this league. Even the goal I scored against Free State Stars, it was a bit of a luck. So it's very difficult, but I'm sure the guys will start scoring next season, even myself I want to be there as well.

Goal: How many goals are you targetting next season?

Mphela: I cannot say how many, but as many as possible.

Goal: Thanks for your time Killer.

Mphela: Cool.

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