Baxter’s team finally have a united look

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SuperSport are through to the semi-finals of the Telkom Knockout after beating Tshwane rivals Mamelodi Sundowns 3-1 on penalties at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday night. The result meant it was a big week for Baxter, pictured, after the 6-1 rout of Orlando Pirates four days earlier in an Absa Premiership clash in Nelspruit, which pushed them up the table to second place.

“I thought the first 45 minutes (against Sundowns) was the worst with the ball since I have been with SuperSport,” said Baxter in his post-match comments. “But maybe that was my fault and we changed that in the second half. I think at the moment we are playing with 80 percent of what we can do and I will be happy even if we get the extra 10 percent during the season. We are not quite the finished product and it was obviously difficult to stop the players from celebrating mentality after our big win against Pirates. Sometimes you are never as good as you think you are when you win, and you are never as bad as you think you are when you lose.”

Baxter has been a bit cautious of the praise that’s come his side’s way recently and perhaps that is what SuperSport need given the turn of events under Igesund, who was handed an open checkbook to sign quality players, but couldn’t get them to deliver until he was sacked in the second half of the season.

“I think we are going to be a more efficient team over the season playing this way. We need to be consistent and be brave on the ball. If we can get that right, we will be a very difficult team to beat,” said Baxter.

His counterpart, Pitso Mosimane, had no excuses but did point out that he thought Anthony Laffor’s disallowed goal a few minutes into extra-time should have stood - and he was correct, the player was at least a metre onside. The Sundowns coach felt that maybe their elimination from a competition they won last season was a good outcome for their Premiership ambitions ­‑ they can now play catch-up in the championship race having fallen five matches behind because of their CAF Champions League commitments, of which they were crowned winners last month.

“I can’t fault my players at all. They gave it everything and we just couldn’t score, and that is age-related because Percy Tau and Keagan Dolly, who are both around 22, and Khama Billiat, who is 26. They lacked maturity and the experience to bury those chances and it takes a while,” Mosimane explained. “We will play in this competition again next year without even needing to qualify. All we need to do is be in the PSL. I am not saying what we have next in Japan (Fifa Club World Cup next month) is better, but it is certainly a big moment for my players and they are looking forward to it.”

@superjourno

@extrastrongsa

Independent Media

Stuart Baxter believes his SuperSport United charges are slowly closing the gap on being the finished article, writes Mazola Molefe.

Original source: Baxter's team finally have a united look

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