Shocked SuperSport United coach Stuart Baxter has called for character from his side

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Baxter admits his side was outclassed, and it is just the second time in 32 years as a coach he had lost by five goals.

He was at a loss to explain his side’s lacklustre performance as Sundowns hit the crossbar as well, and could have won by more were it not for some fine stops from goalkeeper Reyaad Pieterse.

“If you turn the ball over to a quality team like we did tonight, they are going to punish you. I have lost by five twice in my career – once to Barcelona and once tonight,” Baxter told SuperSport TV. “All I can say to Pitso [Mosimane] is well done, it was a different class.

“In the beginning of the game, the first five minutes, we started quite nicely on the ball and then gave two big transitions which they then came one-on-one with our goalkeeper.

“Then after that got a scrappy first goal, and then we played kamikaze for 15-20 minutes and we couldn’t play properly. We allowed them to play through our lines, we defended badly and they ran in behind us time after time.

“Once you are 4-0 down at halftime, you are looking to stop the bleeding. Looking to try and scrape your way back into the game. But if you look at the whole game, we were just outclassed, it’s as simple as that.

“We showed a lack of character and quality to follow a game-plan, in our individual technical ability we didn’t show what we could do. It looked like we were watching and admiring Sundowns rather than being in the game.”

SuperSport host Liberian side Barrack Young Controllers in the second leg of their African Confederation Cup play-off tie on Sunday, with the teams locked at 1-1, before they host Sundowns again in another league match next week Wednesday.  

“It’s easy to say, ‘let’s just move on’, but you can’t. Because this has to hurt,” Baxter said. “The response to this has got to be to stand up and show character. Show discipline, desire, belief in your own and the team’s ability. That bounce back has got to be a considerable one.”