Absa Premiership

Baxter: We can get even better

2014-09-21 16:47
Stuart Baxter (Gallo Images)

Durban - After celebrating his 100th game in charge of the club in style after winning the MTN8 title on Saturday, Kazier Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter warned that the team is yet to hit its peak.

"We're not perfect and I think we can get much better," Baxter said.

"But we are doing a few things right and we're making sure we're difficult to play against. I think that's a credit to the players."

Defender Tefu Mashamaite's 28th minute header secured the 1-0 victory over Orlando Pirates in the final at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

The cup triumph maintained their 100% start to the season, which has seen Chiefs win 10 matches in succession and banish memories last year's trophyless campaign.

Despite a similar strong start to the last season, Chiefs ended with nothing.

Baxter, whose side claimed the top eight title for the 15th time in history, cautioned his players about getting ahead of themselves.

"I do think we can improve and if the players don't think that, then they won't be playing next week," he said.

"We're trying to do things at least five percent better than last year. Our possession game has improved, we've worked very hard on it.

"Our movement around the box has improved, people are aware of our quick transitions, so we've improved things we can improve and the players deserve a lot of credit."

The 61-year-old also felt they deserved the win, despite their Soweto rivals enjoying the better of the second half.

"It was a game of two halves because we played two different games. We played possession football in the first half and then we played transition football in the second."

Baxter applauded his players for showing grit against the old enemy.

"Pirates are a good team, they're going to create chances, but we were hoping to put away one of those transitions we had and then the game would have been dead.

"But the boys had a lot of discipline, a lot of thirst for a battle and they ran the game out magnificently, I'm very proud and pleased."

The cup defeat for Pirates meanwhile was their fourth in five consecutive finals.

The Buccaneers also lost out in last year's MTN8 final, Telkom Knockout and Caf Champions League final, but coach Vladimir Vermezovic rejected the notion that they lacked big match temperament.

"I don't think my players are afraid of final games. I hope we are going to reach another final very soon so we can prove that," Vermezovic said.

"In a final, anything can happen, especially when you face a big team like Kaizer Chiefs. There's more than just a final at stake, there's history and your rivalry all in one game."

The difference was that their arch rivals were able to strike early and put the game to rest, he said.

"I felt whoever scored first was going to win and that's how it turned out. I can't fault my players because they tried hard. They pushed and they showed character, unfortunately we lost."

Read more on:    kaizer chiefs  |  mtn8  |  stuart baxter  |  durban  |  soccer

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