I can handle the pressure – Neeskens

2012-10-01 13:26
Under pressure Mamelodi Sundowns coach Johan Neeskens remains confident his side can lift themselves from their Premiership slump, insisting he can handle an extended onslaught from the club’s supporters.

Sundowns fans stormed the pitch after their 2-0 loss to Moroka Swallows in Dobsonville yesterday, baying for Neeskens’ blood, but the situation was calmed down by the police, match officials, and Alex Shakoane, the club’s supporters relations manager.

“This is not about me alone, this (problem) is for the club and the players,” Neeskens said.

“We just have to keep working hard to come out of this and the pressure will always be there, but I can handle it.”

Neeskens lashed out at the match referee, after their winless streak was extended to five successive league matches, and pointed at a lack of fitness of key players, including Eleazar Rogers and Edward Manqele.

“The second goal, from my opinion, was a clear foul on (Elias) Pelembe and the referee let them play on, then they scored,” Neeskens said.

“In the second half we were unlucky, hitting the crossbar twice, and all our strikers are coming from injuries.
“You could see that they lacked a little bit of sharpness.”

Meanwhile, Swallows coach Zeca Marques praised his side for a gallant performance as they climbed to fifth in the Premiership table and kept big spenders Sundowns stagnant in 14th position.

Marques was delighted with the win after the Birds had gone down in successive defeats to newcomers University of Pretoria and coastal outfit AmaZulu.

“I am delighted that we bounced back from the tough time,” Marques said.

“We won the MTN8 and then we lost. I knew the players would be up to this challenge and we could have scored more goals, but two against Sundowns is a good result.”

Elsewhere yesterday, Bloemfontein Celtic beat title holders Orlando Pirates 1-0 at Free State Stadium.

The Buccaneers took a knock in the early stages of the title race, settling in fourth position in the standings – six points behind leaders Kaizer Chiefs – while Celtic climbed to seventh position with their third victory of the league campaign.