fast little loans
Having become the first Orlando Pirates coach to lose an MTN8 match in three years, Augusto Palacios held a heart-to-heart talk with his squad this week.
“It was a good meeting, and the players apologised for that loss,” Pirates coach Palacios said yesterday of dressing-room discussions triggered by last week’s defeat to SuperSport United. That loss, Pirates’ first in the competition since 2009, sparked a riot from the Ghost (Pirates’ fans) and led to the club being charged by the Premier Soccer League for spectator misbehaviour this week.
While anger from the Ghost was mainly directed at the match officials, Palacios did not escape censure from the outraged Bucs fans, with some questioning his tactics and suitability for the head coach’s post.
As a result, he let his players know that their under-performance was putting him under a lot pressure, something he could do without so early in the season.
“In our meeting I told the players that they need to perform in the same way that they did when I first took over early this year. They accepted that they need to up their game because if they don’t, they put me under pressure. When I took over (in March), the players played the way I wanted them to. We need to go back to those basics, create and take our chances,” Palacios said.
Pirates return to Orlando tomorrow to take on Moroka Swallows in an Absa Premiership clash (8.15pm) that Palacios’s team dare not lose.
Having ranted about referees following last week’s 3-0 drubbing by SuperSport, Palacios was more measured yesterday, blaming Benni McCarthy’s red card for the loss.
“The fact is, before the red card the game was 50-50. But we have to put it behind us now and look forward to the Swallows game. It won’t be easy because they (Swallows) have had a good run. They are scoring goals and have players like (Siyabonga) Nomvethe, (Bennett) Chenene and (Lerato) Chabangu who can be quick on the counter. We have to guard against that.”
Palacios was non-committal when asked if new signing Lehlogonolo Masalesa would make his debut. “Except for the suspended or injured players everyone is available and willing to play. Onyekachi Okonkwo has been working very hard at training but we’ll have to see who plays.”
Fixtures (3pm unless stated)
Tonight: Ajax v Platinum Stars, Cape Town Stadium, 8pm
Tomorrow: FS Stars v Chiefs, Charles Mopeli; Tuks v SuperSport, Tuks Stadium; AmaZulu v Arrows, Moses Mabhida, 6pm; Wits v Celtic, Bidvest Stadium, 6pm; Pirates v Swallows, Orlando, 8.15pm
Sunday: Sundowns v Maritzburg, Lucas Moripe Stadium; Leopards v Chippa, Peter Mokaba Stadium – The Stara