Cape Town - Maritzburg United coach Eric Tinkler says his
players must not drop their standards in the promotion/relegation playoffs against
Royal Eagles and Tshakhuma Tsha Madzivhandila FC.
United managed to squeeze into the playoffs on the final day
of the season after a 1-1 draw with Baroka, while Free State Stars were
relegated after losing 1-0 to Mamelodi Sundowns.
As such, Tinkler explained his delight with reaching the
playoffs though he expects his side to be up for a tough battle.
He said: "Obviously, we are very happy to have avoided
automatic relegation, but we would have loved to have avoided the play-offs and
with a win we could have done that.
"But it didn't happen, we have now given ourselves a
fighting chance which was my objective when I came here so, objective achieved
now is three weeks of hard work against the NFD teams to ensure our safety.
"Playing the NFD teams will be a different ball game.
You are going to have a different mindset and the fear factor I have is you
start lowering your level and you can't afford to.
"You have to maintain your professionalism and PSL
standards and if you can do that, then you can beat the NFD teams. But if you
go there and match their brand of football then you will come unstuck.
"Players are staying up for a month basically. Usually they
will be going for their off season, but I have prepared them mentally.
"I made them aware that we got the potential of going to
play-offs and no one must make plans for holiday and they must be prepared that
they have three weeks of hard work in front of us."