Kaizer Chiefs head coach Ernst Middendorp has defended his substitutions in the 1-0 win over Maritzburg United where both Philani Zulu and Khama Billiat were withdrawn early.
The Glamour Boys edged to a tight win over the relegation battlers on Saturday evening, but were made work for their second successive league win.
Midddendorp, however, raised some eyebrows during the match as he replaced Zulu, who was deployed down the left flank, for central defensive midfielder Willard Katsande with just 26 minutes played.
He then made another brave decision as he hauled off star forward Billiat at half-time, but the Chiefs coach admitted after the game that he felt his team needed to change their initial approach to claim the important three points.
‘It was very clear. I was hoping we were coming into a winning mentality in particularly this area (left flank). I was not expecting the long balls coming into this area all the time,’ Middendorp told SuperSport TV.
‘Then you see the value of (Willard) Katsande. You see Katsande was necessary to change and not wait till half-time. It has nothing to do with the quality of Philani Zulu.
‘He is another type of midfielder, and but at this moment it was very clear we needed Katsande, a winning-ball midfielder and I think he has done well,’ he added.
Middendorp’s decision to replace Billiat and hand teenager Nkosingiphile Ngcobo his official debut was also a big
“We needed a different approach. We had some moments where I’m missing someone to drive into the front,” the former Maritzburg coach said.
‘He (Billiat) was injured. We have to give him a little bit of time. I know he’s a fantastic player, but it didn’t work to our advantage.
‘I decided to bring in another type of player in the centre with Bernard Parker co-operating with a little more power and more heavyweight, and with Ngcobo and Zuma light-footed from the side. The inverted position from Zuma brought us a goal,’ he concluded.
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