Forgot Password

 

Register

 

Create your Connect ID

This will allow you to login to all DStv websites & applications




or
Login using
x

Email Reset

 




Loading...
Loading Live Scoring...
*All times CAT (GMT+2)

Football | Telkom Knockout

Johan Neeskens © Backpagepix

Defiant Neeskens remains upbeat



Head coach Johan Neeskens remained defiant after his Mamelodi Sundowns side slumped to a second cup final defeat in seven months when they were beaten to the Telkom Knockout crown on Saturday.

The Brazilians, who remain without a trophy since 2008, were ousted 1-0 by Bloemfontein Celtic at Moses Mabhida Stadium, with Joel Mogorosi's controversial second-half goal helping Siwelele clinch the lucrative prize.

Under-fire Neeskens, whose embattled team are second from bottom in the Premiership, was under huge pressure to win the title and appease disgruntled supporters and his bosses.

“It is obviously disappointing, but this was a final where there is always a winner and a loser,” the Dutchman said.

“I think it will be difficult to lift this team to challenge for the (league) title, but to get away from where we are, I'm confident it's going to work out.

“If we can play the way we did in the first half, it was the kind of football we want to play.

“So we have enough quality to come out of this. Yes, we lost two finals in the last six or seven months, but it was also after a long couple of years that this club had even reached a final. That is also a positive.”

Neeskens had been castigated for some of his decision making over team selection, and there was further criticism when he opted to leave the experienced Anthony Laffor, one of his better players this season, on the bench and instead started the final with the inexperienced Samuel Julies.

“I can understand that people are upset and frustrated, but those are the kinds of things that we as coaches have to be prepared for,” he said.

“I think if I had to ask all the fans who were in the stands to give me their line up, I'm going to get five thousand different line-ups.

“That is part of the job. I can only say that I give 100 percent for the club, I stand 100 percent behind my players. I don't blame them, and if there is someone to blame, then it is me because I selected the team.”

Neeskens praised his players for fighting till the end, but he felt their lack of composure in front of goal was crucial to the outcome.

“I must compliment my team because they played a pretty good game, especially the passing,” he said.

“The thing we didn't do very well in the last 20 minutes was try to keep playing football, and we didn't do too well with our play in the final third where we were sometimes rushing and chose the wrong decisions.

"But I cannot blame them, they fought right until the end.”

Replays failed to conclusively show the entire ball had crossed the line when Mogorosi headed home in the 47th minute, and while Neeskens would not be drawn into a debate on the goal, he did criticise his outfit for giving their opponents the opportunity.

“I don't know if the ball totally crossed the line. I could not see it from where I was sitting," he said.

“Just the way the goal went, there was too much ball watching from our players.

"Three of our players went for the same ball. They all missed, including the goalkeeper, and it was a very open chance for them.”

Shop

Gerrard: My Autobiography
Steven Gerrard is a hero to millions, not only as the inspirational captain of Liverpool FC, but as a key member of the England team.
R161.00
Rafa: My Story
Revelatory memoir from the greatest sportsman in the world today.
R182.00
Mitre Monde Soccer Ball - White
Voted as one of the UK's favourite match balls
R219.00


Comments

More expert analysis and opinion from Sport24
The opinions expressed by Sport24 experts and bloggers are theirs alone, and do not necessarily represent those of SuperSport

Sports Talk



Neil Tovey
Baxter’s men on the ball
Kaizer Chiefs’ 15-match winning streak may have ended but they remain the team to beat in the PSL.

Chima Emmanuel Aguma
Mata can't replace Rooney
Manchester United started the first of three crucial Premier League games against West Brom (away),...

Calvin Emeka Onwuka
Rodgers must focus on the league
Many footballers arriving in the Barclays Premier League have been warned of second-season syndrome.

Sunday Oliseh
Dortmund's winning formula is killing it
I sat in Signal Iduna Park to watch Dortmund over-run Arsenal and wondered, how long will it take...

John Dykes
A Gooner or a gonner?
An International Break can do funny things to the mind. Mine, for instance was heavily engaged this...

Dr Errol Sweeney
Why can’t soccer be like rugby?
Sport is supposed to be sport; something we all do for the love of it, for recreational purposes,...