Mamelodi Sundowns co-coach Rulani Mokwena insists they work as a cohesive unit by taking the pressure, make and achieve success together as a team instead of singling out individuals.
The Brazilians are the only unbeaten team in the DStv Premiership this campaign after extending their run with a 2-0 victory over Sekhukhune United at the ABSA Tuks Stadium this past weekend thanks to goals from Neo Maema and Themba Zwane.
Sundowns are now sitting comfortable at the summit of the league standings with 30 points from 12 matches, having won nine and drawn three, while scoring 21 goals and conceding only two goals.
Mokwena admits their success is down to working as a team instead of as individuals.
“I always say to the players that there are going to be five or six errors leading up to the bigger error and sometimes when you concede a goal people look at the goal,” Mokwena told his club’s official website.
“It’s a simple situation where we should progress with the ball from the midfield, there’s no reason why the pass should go back to Grant [Kekana], then back to Andile Jali and Mosa [Lebusa] who clearly thought that the pass should go back to Denis in that moment because there’s two strikers and the other striker is a little bit hidden on his shoulder, and he’s not aware of the situation and the back pass catches him unaware. You can clearly see with the body position that he was not expecting the pass.
“When you’re a center back for Sundowns you have to be able to have the ability to play under pressure and help the team not just to retain possession but to progress closer to the goal of the opposition from the pass and he couldn’t do that.
“And then, of course, the error which then compromised Denis a little bit, and with the compromised situation, possibly very difficult to make any other decision except maybe look to guide, but if the striker is gone it becomes a little bit of a situation. But if you don’t get him into that compromised situation. then you don’t have the red card.
“We are together, we win together; when we lose, we lose together, when we make mistakes we are together, we never single out any individuals because that’s what big teams do. Big teams take pressure, they make mistakes and achieve success together. Big teams share everything together and then they move on and make progress together and that’s what we will continue to do.”
The Bafana Ba Style mentor insists they are still in the process of improving by taking every game as it comes while trying to instil a winning mentality in his players.
“You can never ever count your chickens before they hatch in football, we take it one game at a time, and we prepare for the games to play and win,” Mokwena added.
“Even if we get to sixty points and we feel that the league is wrapped up, we have the responsibilities to this club, to the management, the ownership of the club and the supporters of the club to make sure we play and win every single match. That says then that your process is governed by principles, values and the profile of the club and not by points. We don’t look at points or how much we need, we focus on trying to make sure that we build a very strong team on the pitch.
“The game belongs to the players, they have the responsibility to the club to make sure that they are competitive every single day, to make sure that they are ready every single day at training and they have the responsibility to show up every single day at training to fight and to compete.
“When you have such good human beings it’s easier to maintain the group dynamics and make sure that the spirit that’s within the group is very good. The biggest benefit is that we have good human beings and to be a good football player in my opinion you need to be a good person,” concluded Mokwena.
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