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McCarthy: 'Intelligence needed to beat Highlands'

Cae Town City FC coach Benni McCarthy knows his players are in for a physical encounter against Highland Park in the Nedbank Cup but feels his side has grown a lot since then.

Cape Town City coach Benni McCarthy, centre, addresses players during a training session. Picture: @ CapeTownCityFC/Facebook.com.

CAPE TOWN - Cape Town City are on the hunt for more silverware on Friday night as they take on Highlands Park in the Nedbank Cup round of 16 at the Cape Town Stadium.

Before the disappointing weekend loss at AmaZulu‚ the last team to beat City was Highlands, that was all the way back in December when Owen de Gama’s men claimed a 2-0 league win.

Benni McCarthy knows his players are in for a physical encounter but feels his side has grown a lot since then.

“Our last league game that we lost came at the hands of Highlands Park, it was a tough trip. Not that I really want to make excuses, but they caught us at a different time and different day. Friday is completely the opposite. I think we are a much more established team than what we were when we played them last time around. Nevertheless, that doesn’t stop making it an extremely difficult game,” said McCarthy.

City’s experience of Highlands is not a pleasant one as the Highveld club are filled with energy and endeavour and give their opponents no respite.

“Physically and mentally it is going to be draining because Highlands Park, as we see from the stats, are a team that like to follow you everywhere you go. So, our players must be able to use their intelligence more.

“We have to do exactly the same thing we did against AmaZulu but this time we just have to be more clinical in front of goal and that’s how you beat a team like Highlands, which is easier said than done,” said McCarthy.

Another plus for McCarthy is the venue. City seem to flourish at the Cape Town Stadium where the beautifully groomed grass suits their carpet football.

“It put a smile on my face when and it came up and said Cape Town Stadium because it’s what we are familiar with. We know the pitch. We know the speed of the ball and how we must play. Our results of late have been exceptional at the stadium.”