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Tinkler: City prepared to play ‘ugly football’

Eric Tinkler, head coach of Cape Town City. Picture: Ryan Wilkisky, BackpagePix

With Eric Tinkler back at the helm he is keen to re-instil that grit and determination in his team, which was exemplified by Man of the Match Abbubaker Mobara in their MTN 8 win.

CAPE TOWN – CAPE Town City coach Eric Tinkler has stated his team are prepared to “play ugly football” to achieve the desired results this season.

City dug deep at the Moses Mabhida Stadium on Sunday evening to find a late Mduduzi Mdantsane winner in their 2-1 victory over AmaZulu in the last MTN8 quarter-final.

The visitors had taken an early lead through an excellent individual goal from Terrence Mashego within the first 10 minutes, but then allowed Benni McCarthy’s team to take the initiative which eventually led to Lehlohonolo Majoro slotting home the equaliser on the hour mark.

Such circumstances last season would have seen City buckle under the pressure and relinquish the result under former coach Jan Olde Riekerink.

Often City would play an attractive brand of football, but were not prepared to roll up their sleeves and do the hard work. But with Tinkler back at the helm after a couple of seasons away from Cape Town, the former Bafana Bafana hard-man is keen to re-instil that grit and determination in his team, which was exemplified by Man of the Match Abbubaker Mobara.

Mobara, who recently missed going with the SA Under-23s to the Tokyo Olympics, was excellent throughout as he made a number of crucial tackles just when AmaZulu were looking to break out on attack.

“The one thing I wanted to introduce here at Cape Town City (is) that it’s not always about playing pretty football, sometimes you have to play ugly football to get the result,” Tinkler said.

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“Last season we tried to play too much pretty football and that didn’t give us the results as we conceded a lot of goals. I explained it to the boys at half-time … that it is going to be about who wants it more. At the end of the day we stuck in there, we conceded the equaliser, but we kept going.

“We changed the formation just to strengthen us a bit more in the wide areas to allow our wing-backs to get forward. Once we did that, we got the winner right at the death. I think defensively we had a lot more structure. We looked more organised and hopefully now that builds the confidence.”

Tinkler was equally pleased with the performance of City’s two debutants Khanyisa Mayo and goalkeeper Hugo Marques’ against the Usuthu.

Mayo put in a workmanlike shift upfront, while Marques’ vast experience shone through, particularly when he was called upon to make a crucial late save from an AmaZulu free-kick that was headed into the bottom left corner.

“I thought he (Mayo) actually did very well. I do think that when we went 1-0 up, he could have been more actively involved because we couldn’t find him for large periods but I thought his work ethic defensively was exceptional. On the ball, he made one or two mistakes, but that is expected.

“Hugo didn’t surprise to be honest. We’re talking about a man that has been playing in Europe for many years. He has been playing at the highest level for over a 1000 matches. I thought his performance was exceptional.”

City host Swallows in their MTN8 semi-final. The dates are yet to be announced.

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