Mngqithi demands more from Mamelodi Sundowns to become 'a well-oiled machine'

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Mamelodi Sundowns coach Manqoba Mngqithi has called on his charges to brush up on their ball retention to nullify their vulnerability to counter attacks, albeit after recording a dominant 4-1 win over Orlando Pirates on Thursday.

The Premier Soccer League Champions survived a few scares but, overall, they were in control throughout in the Nedbank Cup quarter-final clash, scoring in each half through Peter Shalulile, Themba Zwane, Lesedi Kapinga, and Hlompho Kekana to progress to the semi-final.

Mnqithi, however, believes that the tie could have been even more comfortable with more precision on the ball.

''If we were a well-oiled machine, we would not have had so many counter-attacks in this match,'' Mngqithi told the media.

'We lost too many balls, and I think I was talking about this even at the beginning of the season, that as a coach, this is one area I don't find joy, in players losing possession so cheaply because I know when we lose possession, we are exposing our limitations defensively and we are challenging the team physically more.

''I think that is one area of our game that still has to improve a lot because I still believe at times, we become casual and make silly mistakes technically. Not mistakes that are forced because opponents are putting us under pressure, but a lot of unforced errors that result in turnovers.’’

The former Golden Arrows coach would go on to add that he wants his charges to be a bit more arrogant in attack to pile more misery on opposition defences and also demands that - while using domestic matches to prepare for the Caf Champions League - his side be even more comfortable and more clinical in front of goal.

''In our attacking play, there are some elements and runs that we are demanding in our triangulation,'' he added.

''We've got expectation of trying to break the line and create more problems in the last line of defenders, with the 'eights' taking the spaces between the centre-backs and the full-backs and the 'tens'  taking those spaces to try and dislocate the centre-backs into wrong positions so that when we come back we can have better possibilities inside the box.

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''And at times we don't do that, we are prone to play to feet even when we have possibilities to try and make life a little bit difficult for the opponent and force their last line to be caught in wrong decisive positions. There is still so much.

''There will always be elements of our game that must improve and remember we are also using these games as preparations for the Caf Champions League and we are a very unfortunate team, to be honest, at times because if you check, Black Leopards that we played against, they had one chance, the one shot at goal and they scored and managed to salvage a draw out of nothing."

In their next outing, the Brazilians face Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila in the Nedbank Cup semi-final on Sunday.