Lamontville Golden Arrows coach Muhsin Ertugral refused to be drawn into the ‘pressure debate’, despite the heat seemingly lifted from his shoulders with their first Absa Premiership victory of the season in Durban on Saturday night.
|Muhsin Ertugral © Backpagepix
The Turkish boss insisted that pressure was overrated in football after witnessing his side edge out another stressed out team in Mamelodi Sundowns thanks to a stoppage time penalty from captain Thanduyise Khuboni.
The win at the Moses Mabhida Stadium was the first for Abafana Bes'thende this term after they lost two and drew one of their other three matches.
“Both teams came into the game with a lot of pressure, which is a little bit unnecessary,” Ertugral said. “The treatment we have as coaches is sometimes a disgrace. Pressure is in your mind, you obviously have to get out of the problem.
“Criticism is good and I will take that, I get really angry sometimes with what people say.”
He went on to defend opposite number Johan Neeskens, who was put under further scrutiny after his expensively assembled team slumped to a third loss in four matches.
“I feel a bit for Johan and his situation, I think South Africa can be proud of having a man like him,” Ertugral said. “I feel that Sundowns will turn things around because this is a marathon and there’s a long way to go.
“I still feel they will be one of the contenders come the end of the season.”
Ertugral has argued during the opening weeks that his team needed time to settle following a complete overhaul during the winter.
And he was happy that their game plan worked to perfection against the Brazilians, saying: “For us, it’s all about stability and we got three points today which is great for these young boys in this new team.
“We knew it would be tough for against a wounded team. We needed to close them down and play on the counter and I think we did that well.
“We also knew that the longer the game went on, the more chance we would have had of getting that goal, which eventually came.”
“I think they did very well in the game, accept for the first 20 minutes.”
Neeskens was defiant in defeat and remained confident of reversing their fortunes in the coming weeks.
He added: “I must say that we’re very disappointed with the defeat firstly, but in terms of my players, I think they were committed and worked hard.
“We started well at the beginning, we played very well and had some opportunities and didn’t score, but playing wise it was a better game than the last couple we’ve played.
“We made less mistakes and there was an improvement in a lot of things, accept for the result. I thought we were unlucky and deserved at least a point.”