Tinkler: Sundowns & Pirates also struggled after reaching CAF final

Tinkler: Sundowns & Pirates also struggled after reaching CAF final
Head coach Eric Tinkler of Supersport United 2017 Caf Confederations Cup game between Supersport United and Zesco United at Lucas Moripe Stadium on 14 September 2017@Aubrey Kgakatsi/BackpagePix

by Austin Ditlhobolo

Friday Jan 26, 2018. 15:00

SuperSport United head coach Eric Tinkler says his side is not alone in struggling after contesting a CAF final, saying Orlando Pirates and Mamelodi Sundowns experienced the same challenges.

Pirates have struggled in the South African Absa Premiership since they reached the 2013 CAF Champions League final with Tinkler serving as coach Roger De Sa’s assistant. Tinkler then guided the team to the CAF Confederation Cup final two years later.

In 2016, Sundowns clinched the Champions League title, but they failed to defend their Absa Premiership title. Tinkler’s SuperSport reached last year’s Confederation Cup final where they were defeated by DR Congo giants TP Mazembe.

Since then SuperSport have been struggling in the domestic league and they currently find themselves 11th on the standings - five points above the relegation zone.
"Like I said, I think there is no team that has gone to a CAF final that hasn't felt this," said Tinkler on Kickoff.

"I think you saw it with Sundowns, you saw it with Pirates. I experienced it with Pirates you know. I don't think people actually understand how difficult it is. And it is more emotional for the players than anything else. I don't think it's a physical issue, I think it's more of an emotional issue because to get to a CAF final was a very long road.

"We got to a Nedbank final, we got to a CAF final, we got to an MTN8 final, and that takes a lot of hard work and the players have to go through a lot of pressure,” he added.

"Normally what you would find, your season would end, be it a Champions League final or a Europa final, whether you won or lost you get at least five weeks to recover, regenerate and get away from the game before you start your pre-season and get back to work.

"That's not the case here. We got to get back here and catch up on league fixtures. What happend to us is you got to sit and play 10 league fixtues in the space of 30 days, and we expect these guys to bounce back every three days and put on the same performance, the same energy, the same level of concentration... that's not easy, that's extremely difficult," he concluded.

Tinkler’s side will welcome the defending league champions Bidvest Wits at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Saturday.

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