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What Ernst Middendorp Needs to Fix if Cape Town Spurs Are to Remain in the DStv Premiership
- Ernst Middendorp took over in mid-November and has lost both of his matches
- Cape Town Spurs have shown potential but have proven consistently easy to beat
- As the season's halfway stage nears, The Urban Warriors have a fight on their hands
Stellenbosch FC's dismantling of Cape Town Spurs illustrated the difficulty of Ernst Middendorps's task.
The German will need to instil rigidity and play to their strengths if they are to survive this DStv Premiership campaign.
After 13 matches, Spurs are seven points adrift of their nearest rival and 11 points from safety, having conceded an average of two goals a game.
Conceding early is poison for a relegation-struggling team. Luke Baartman was not trying to pass the ball backwards but stuck a foot in to win the ball back after not controlling a high ball.
The bottom-placed club won very little in the air and even less of the second ball, and have not been dominant enough in midfield to go toe-to-toe with teams.
Their best moments have been when getting numbers behind the ball, and then using pacy Baartman and Ashley Cupido to strike into space.
Their lone win against Orlando Pirates was built on a disciplined implementation of this tactic and they will need to revert to bring home any wins.
Middendorp's biggest challenge will be making the midfield more rigid. Even with Keagan Buchanan, the midfield is currently a sieve, with Stellenbosch and others simply able to run the ball into space in order to put them on the back foot.
They allow too much space between the midfield and backline and, criminally, when they commit men forward they don't work hard enough to get back into position, horribly exposing their defenders.
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This was clearly evident when Jayden Adams glided unmarked into the box to flick the second past a flat-footed Sam Ramsbottom.
Middendorp and the fans might want attractive ball but Spurs need to acknowledge their limitations and show the mental strength to dig themselves out of trouble.
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DStv Premiership Team of the Week
Sports Brief recently compiled a DStv Premiership Team of the Week for the November 26 weekend.
Kaizer Chiefs and Cape Town City had several impressive performers as did Royal AM and TS Galaxy.
Sage Stephens was the star in between the sticks with a crucial penalty save to secure three points.