Eric Tinkler heaps praise on Cape Town City's maiden PSL run

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City, a team formed only in June last year after John Comitis bought the top flight status of Mpumalanga Black Aces, were expected to struggle to keep up with the demands in their first ever Absa Premiership season.

However, those notions have been extirpated as they currently sit pretty in third place, above both Soweto giants Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates, and still within reach of the league title, this after also lifting the Telkom Knockout trophy earlier this season.

On Monday, Tinkler's side lacked just the sting that has been everpresent throughoiut this season as they went down to Maritzburg United denting their hopes of retaining their position atop the league table.

It was their first defeat in 11 league matches in 2017, with their former Orlando Pirates mentor conceding that the pressure was never there from the onset, as he lauded his side's efforts in exceding expectations.

"I wouldn't call it a surprise season and, obviously, our target and objectives were totally different from where we find ourselves right now," admitted Tinkler.

"For that reason, they [the players] should have no fear of wanting to play because the pressure is not on [them]; the pressure is on Mamelodi Sundowns, Bidvest Wits, Supersport United, Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates.

"We've done exceptionally well and I'm exceptionally proud of the team on what we've achieved, but... Against Maritzburg we let ourselves down because we didn't play well. Losing the game – of course the boys are hurting."

With the race all but over, City next host Free State Stars at the Cape Town stadium on Friday, a day after Wits take on Pirates and Sundowns face Platinum Stars.