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Da Gama: We let ourselves down

Highlands Park coach Owen Da Gama

Highlands Park head coach Owen Da Gama slammed his team's performance in the 3-0 defeat to Kaizer Chiefs on Wednesday night.

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The Lions of the North were outclassed at FNB Stadium as Eric Mathoho opened the scoring for Amakhosi before a double from Leonardo Castro buried the travelers.

Da Gama admits Chiefs played well but he was also disappointed with the way his charges defended and wanted to see more mental toughness in the face of adversity.

"I thought our defence badly let us down today. I mean being given an opportunity and they don't take it, it's just unfortunate," Da Gama told SuperSport TV.

"Don't take any credit away from Kaizer Chiefs, [Leonardo] Castro scores two goals, getting in front of our player and scoring. I think that's poor marking, bad defensive work, no covering.

"But I just thought overall we didn't pitch up today, we seemed to struggle when we've played three games in succession, I don't know if it's a mental thing or what it is, emotional intelligence, I don't know.

"But I think we really need to get a bit of consistency in our defence. I mean week and week out [we have injuries], [Limbikani] Mzava out, Ryan [Rae] out it's not an excuse but you need that consistency.

"You saw it last year with Chiefs when Mathoho was not there, this one was not there, it was very difficult for them so I just think we need to try to get it right, try and see if we can strengthen in defence. Upfront as well, we were just not at the party upfront.

"All our left-backs are out, our two most consistent players, Ryan and Mzava out. You know it makes it very difficult for us. But in saying that, it's also to see what you've got. To see who can come to the party and who can't come to the party.

"It's either a player is going to raise his hand or he's not going to raise his hand. But I was very proud of Thalente Mbatha, a 19-year old boy coming on and spraying those passes together. I think he's going to grow as a player, it was a good opportunity for him just to get a feel of playing in front of such a big crowd. But congratulations to Kaizer Chiefs, we wish them all well and good luck to them."