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Football | Telkom Knockout

Clinton Larsen © Backpagepix

Celtic must maintain hunger - Larsen



Bloemfontein Celtic coach Clinton Larsen believes his side can lift the Telkom Knockout trophy for the first time if they build on the momentum and hunger that carried them to the final.

Celtic face Mamelodi Sundowns in the cup decider in Durban on Saturday night.

"It's a big occasion for the club and the players," Larsen said on Wednesday.

"I think we deserve the cup because we have done it the hard way, overcoming defending champions Orlando Pirates and Free State Stars.

"The hunger we have shown in the tournament motivates us and if we show the same hunger and fighting spirit as in other cup matches, I believe we stand a good chance of lifting the trophy."

Larsen said his outfit owed it to their fans to break a seven-year trophy drought.

The Free State side last won a title when they secured the top-eight cup, then known as the SAA Supa 8, in 2005.

"Our supporters deserve silverware because they have stood by us all this time and they are the best in country," he said.

"Winning the cup is something our supporters need to shout about."

The Celtic mentor said leaks in their defence would be tightened, after they let in six goals in the first three rounds of the competition, and he believed their ability to convert scoring chances would see them through against Sundowns, who did not concede a single strike in their run to the final.

The Brazilians are in search of their third Telkom Knockout trophy and their first in 13 years. They last lifted the cup, under a different name due to sponsorship rights, in 1999.

"We would like to keep our scoring record and score more goals than our opponents," Larsen said.

"We are not worried about how many goals we have conceded or how many the opposition has conceded."

Sundowns beat Celtic 1-0 in Bloemfontein on Sunday, to lift the struggling Pretoria outfit from the bottom of the Premiership standings, but Larsen was not concerned about his side's league defeat.

"We are not reading too much into the defeat by Sundowns in the league," he said.

After guiding a Premiership side to a cup final for the first time, Larsen was entirely focussed on their performance this weekend, rather than the effect a victory would have on his coaching career.

"I will only reflect on success 20 years down line," he said.

"For now the focus is to do our best to win the cup."

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