Chiefs eye better defensive performance


JOHANNESBURG — Kaizer Chiefs boss Stuart Baxter says he is still looking to his team to improve defensively, as the Soweto side continues its search for a second consecutive Premiership title this season.


The Amakhosi travel to the Lucas Moripe Stadium today for their clash against a rejuvenated SuperSport United outfit, who head into the weekend’s action sitting on top of the league standings.

“We need to make sure our defensive play in general becomes more difficult to play against,” Baxter said ahead of the game.

“We certainly need to work on our defence as both Orlando Pirates and Moroka Swallows gave us problems.”

Chiefs got their season off to a winning start, beating Mpumalanga Black Aces in their opening fixture, before easing past the University of Pretoria in the first round of the MTN8 knockout competition.

But a 1-0 loss to Pirates in their cup semi-final first-leg encounter, and a 1-1 draw with Swallows midweek, had left Baxter wary of his uneasy-looking back four.

Baxter, however, was impressed with the Glamour Boys’ attacking prowess, having scored in all but one of their first five matches — across all competitions.

“At times our attacking play is outstanding, playing in between the lines and making penetrating runs.

“But we want to be a threat in longer attacks from the transition. We need to play in between people’s lines.
“Our ambition has to be to stick with the good football we play at times but it has to be for longer periods.”

Currently two points behind Matsatsantsa on the log, Baxter’s side have an opportunity to show their intentions early on, and will leapfrog the Pretoria outfit should they claim maximum points on Saturday.

The Chiefs squad would have to make a quick turnaround from their midweek draw at home to Swallows and Baxter was hopeful of a fully-fit team by Friday afternoon, in anticipation of a tough encounter against United.

“We’re away to SuperSport now, and maybe in a way we become a little bit more neutral,” Baxter said, after playing two consecutive derby games.

“Our main aim is to make sure the players recuperate properly to be fresh enough to put out a competitive team on the field.
“We may have to rest or chop-and-change a little bit, but we still want to have a real go at wining the game.”

Meanwhile, United skipper Bevan Fransman, who was rested against Tuks, said he was looking forward to welcoming the defending Premiership champions, and warned that United had what it takes to upset the favourites.

“I’m confident we can beat them. No team is unbeatable, including Chiefs,” Fransman said.

“We have quality players on our side, after making some good acquisitions in the off-season, and I think we have enough quality to take the three points on Saturday.”