A Nedbank Cup title to end that miserable campaign has since been followed by a start that’s had many tip them as championship contenders and they have secured a place in the Telkom Knockout final on December 10 against Cape Town City.
Their win over Orlando Pirates at Mbombela Stadium on Saturday night in the semi-finals of the cup, stretched their unbeaten run to 12 games in all competitions - the mark of a team determined to collect silverware.
“It’s good, but it could have been great,” said coach Stuart Baxter referring to his side’s current form. “We can play better in certain periods of certain games. I am not 100 percent pleased, but pleased that we dug out a result and got to the final. It’s not for selfish reasons (the Telkom Knockout is the only trophy Baxter has not won since returning to SA football four years ago), but because that is what I am paid to do - to build confidence and develop technical ability.”
It should be frightening for opposition teams to hear the coach say SuperSport can still play better, especially because they have taken down giants in the last three weeks - humiliating Pirates 6-1 at the same Mbombela Stadium in a league match on November 1 and denying reigning league holders and recently crowned African champions Mamelodi Sundowns the chance to defend their Telkom Knockout cup. Baxter’s men also managed to go to FNB Stadium and return home with a point against Chiefs and then dump Pirates out of the cup, all in the same week. They were hopeless in these kinds of scenarios last season prior to Baxter arriving in January to replace Gordon Igesund.
“We’ve done a lot of things in the time we have been together, but we still need to keep going,” the coach said. “You can hear Dean (Furman) say we are not finished yet, and he is right. I will concentrate on that and hopefully it will give me what I want as well.” But before Baxter can think about December 10, SuperSport face log leaders Bidvest Wits tomorrow night at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in what could turn out to be a scintillating Absa Premiership encounter between two teams that will both go into that fixture eager to hold on to an unbeaten run - the Clever Boys are the only side in the league still without a loss after eight matches, while SuperSport have not suffered defeat since being beaten 3-1 by Sundowns in the quarter-finals of the MTN8 on August 28.
Baxter did chat briefly about facing a Cape Town City side operating with the underdog tag and led by captain Lebogang Manyama, a player he came close to signing while at Chiefs. Coincidentally, Manyama chose to join SuperSport instead, but struggled for form and was eventually sold.
“I think Eric (Tinkler) has done a very good job there and taken the remnants of Black Aces (whose franchise was sold and renamed Cape Town City) and added a little bit of spice to it. They’ve only just started, but right now are playing as good as any team in the country.”
Original source: SuperSport United can get better - Baxter