Baxter says Chiefs will bounce back
STUART Baxter said he is backing his Kaizer Chiefs team to bounce back after a record defeat to Mamelodi Sundowns at the weekend, and will resist the temptation to ring the changes.
The new Amakhosi coach, who looked shell-shocked after his side suffered a 4-1 setback in the MTN8, insisted his side had the capacity to bounce back after a worst-ever start to a new season.
"When you lose and it is a heavy defeat, then the next battle becomes much more important," he said, as Chiefs turned their attention to their opening league game away to AmaZulu at the Moses Mabhida stadium on Saturday.
"I'm hoping the players will look at taking revenge with their own performance. They should be thinking about putting things right. We'll work on the mistakes very hard this week."
Baxter, who was in charge of his first official game since taking over from Vladimir Vermezovic, said he was still convinced Chiefs had made good progress in their pre-season preparations, but that the defeat at the hands of Sundowns had also revealed deficiencies. It was the heaviest loss Amakhosi have ever suffered at the hands of their arch-rivals.
"The first thing we must do now is to work at our game and try to play with quality on Saturday," added the former Bafana coach.
"It does make it a big task for me now and I'm looking to the players to respond. But I back them."
The coach said his midfield had lost control because they were stretched wide by Sundowns, and that his defenders lost concentration at set pieces, where Sundowns scored three of their four goals in the first half at Loftus on Sunday.
"I'm concerned with our defensive organisation and the individual defenders not attacking the ball. We also marked poorly at the corner."
But the Chiefs coach made it clear he was not considering any drastic changes: "We'll work on not getting stretched, but I'm not too keen to change players."
Katlego Mphela returned to the training ground yesterday as the Sundowns striker continued on the road to recovery following a knee operation in June.
It will come as a boost to both club and country but it is still unclear when the 27-year-old will take to the pitch again.