PSL News 21.10.2014 02:50 pm

Chiefs to keep eye on the ball — and not the stats

FILE PICTURE: Stuart Baxter (head coach) speaks to his players during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and University of Pretoria at FNB Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

FILE PICTURE: Stuart Baxter (head coach) speaks to his players during the Absa Premiership match between Kaizer Chiefs and University of Pretoria at FNB Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images)

Kaizer Chiefs coach Stuart Baxter hopes his team will not get carried away by the hype of setting a new Premier Soccer League record, when they host Moroka Swallows on Wednesday night.

Chiefs broke Mamelodi Sundowns’ seven-year record of 14 consecutive victories across all competitions when they defeated Ajax Cape Town last Sunday.

Baxter, however, warned his team could come crashing back down to earth if too much attention was paid to “immaterial” statistics, which, in his opinion, had the potential to cloud the team’s focus.

“People have been showering me with statistics over the last two days,” Baxter said ahead of Wednesday’s contest at FNB Stadium.

“I really, honestly want the players to forget about the run. We’re doing well at the moment, with a nice little lead, so just keep playing.

“Even these wins, or the goals we’ve let in, don’t matter. It won’t help us against Swallows. If we go out thinking that we’ve got all these records and we play poorly, then we will lose the game.”

Chiefs have resembled a runaway train this season, having maintained a 100 percent record stretching back to the last two games of last season. They have netted twenty-three goals and conceded two.

Baxter said the most important statistic, and the only one his team should focus on, was the one at the far right of the league table — a 10 point lead.

Chiefs found themselves in a similar position midway through last season, when they had opened a 10-point gap over Mamelodi Sundowns.

Sundowns eventually overturned that lead and ended up being crowned Premiership champions.

Baxter believed Chiefs would not let the same thing happen again.

“We’ve created a slightly different mindset to last year. We want to win while they (other teams) need to win.

“When you want something, it’s a positive thing. When you need it, it can be a negative thing.”

Amakhosi face a hapless Moroka Swallows side, reeling from the resignation of their coach Zeca Marques on Monday.

The Birds suffered their fifth defeat of the season on Saturday, losing 2-3 to Mpumalanga Black Aces.

Swallows had conceded a dismal 20 goals from their nine games in league and cup action so far this season, at a rate of more than two goals per game.

In their last five fixtures, Swallows had leaked 14 goals which not the kind of statistic stand-in coach Fani Madida would want to be sharing with the opposition.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, SuperSport United would want to continue their dream run under new coach Gordon Igesund.

The former Bafana Bafana manager was unbeaten in his first four games in charge, winning four out of four.

SuperSport welcomed Maritzburg United to Lucas Moripe Stadium, looking for another three points which could see them into the top four, depending on other results.

Mamelodi Sundowns would travel to Port Elizabeth to face Chippa United, while Free State Stars hosted AmaZulu.

AmaZulu, rooted to the foot of the table, were the only team still without a win in the league.

Meanwhile, the University of Pretoria were at home to Bloemfontein Celtic, while Platinum Stars travelled to Cape Town to face Ajax.

Wits would be looking to claim maximum points against Polokwane City in Johannesburg, following a goalless draw with Sundowns over the weekend.

– Sapa

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