Roger Palmgren, the AmaZulu coach, has played down suggestions that this week’s Absa Premiership clash against Lamontville Golden Arrows is a ‘make-or-break’ encounter for his under-pressure side.
|Roger Palmgren @ Backpagepix
Usuthu are yet to win a game this season and two heavy defeats mean their goal-difference has also taken a knock, putting them bottom of the log.
Their cross-town opponent were also beaten in their opening two games, effectively turning the KwaZulu-Natal derby into an early-season six pointer at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Saturday night.
“The focus on this game is very important because of the situation of both clubs, so to me it’s just another game that we will try to win,”
“Whether you win two games in a row or whether you lose two in a row, you will still try to win the next game. That’s how I see it.”
The Swedish coach, whose side lost 6-0 to Kaizer Chiefs and were then beaten 2-0 by Maritzburg United, insisted there was no additional heat on him to win, despite pressure from all quarters.
“Pressure is a funny thing and I strongly believe people react differently according to their individual personality,” he said. “Me personally, I produce better results under pressure.
“Losing two games is never great, but we expect to lose five, six, seven or eight games in a season, so hopefully we’re done with two of those now and turn the corner straight away.”
Palmgren explained that the biggest challenge for him was keeping the players’ heads up high.
“Obviously with the bad start you have to also work on the mental side of things with players,” he explained. “I’ve been trying to get them to forget the last three games (including a defeat to Moroka Swallows in the MTN8) as much as possible and focus on last season, which was a good season for AmaZulu and also the pre-season which went well.”
The Usuthu boss continues to rue the absence of several key players that is hindering their progress.
Captain Tapuwa Kapini, Nyiko Shabangu and Marc van Heerden all remained sidelined through injury, while new signings Dulee Johnson, Mkhokheli Dube and Thokozani Mshengu are still missing documentation that will allow them to play.
Veteran defender Belux Kasonga is also out after problems with his paperwork.
Meanwhile, the club have also announced the signing of midfielder Kulegani Madondo from Maritzburg United on a three-year deal.
However, he too is unlikely to feature against Arrows unless he can be registered in time.