Bucs are climbing up the PSL ladder

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iol spt pic Roger de Sa

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Roger de Sa believes Pirates are now in a position to have others looking over their shoulders after their victory over Golden Arrows. Photo: Lefty Shivambu

Johannesburg - Roger de Sa believes Orlando Pirates are now in a position to have others “looking over their shoulders,” after victory over Golden Arrows on Sunday lifted them a little further up the Premiership table.

The Buccaneers’ 3-1 victory was their third in a row ahead of the Christmas break, as they continue to play catch-up after their exploits in the African Champions League.

De Sa’s side will now play three games in January, while most of the rest have the month off for the African Nations Championship. Win all those, at home to SuperSport United, away to AmaZulu and at home to Ajax Cape Town, and Pirates could be as high as second in the table when Kaizer Chiefs and Mamelodi Sundowns meet on January 28.

“It was important, if we want to be in the title race, to have two points a game (Pirates now have 16 points from eight games). Our target was to reach 16 points (by Christmas) if there was a realistic chance to have a go.

“It was important to get away from the bottom of the table. Even tough we have only played eight games it was not a nice picture to look at. For everyone at the club it is nice to climb (the standings) and make sure teams above start looking over their shoulders.”

De Sa admitted that having to come back on January 18 to play AmaZulu was a little sooner than the Bucs would have liked, after a long first part of the season, that saw them reach the MTN8 final, the Champions League final, and the Telkom Knockout final.

“We do have to come back slightly earlier, we were hoping to have a longer break,” said the Pirates coach.

“We do need a break, we have a lot of tired legs and heads. I think this break will be good for us in the long run, to sustain what will be a gruelling second half of the season for us. Hopefully we will have enough time to prepare and get the balance right between rest and training.”

Pirates might also look at signing some new players in the January window, with Mozambican striker Helder Pelembe currently on trial with the club.

Pirates’ strikers have been a little inconsistent this season. Midfielder Oupa Manyisa is their top scorer in the league with four goals, two coming last weekend against Arrows. No other Pirates player has scored more than once in the Premiership.

But De Sa also feels that the way Pirates play does not necessarily mean they need a prolific striker. “I think, the way we play, we don’t rely on one striker, we have a lot of movement up front and get midfielders and wide players into scoring positions,” said De Sa.

“Kermit (Erasmus) is more of a false nine, and will never get 20 goals, he is always making space for Oupa and other players, like he did today, and like he did against Platinum Stars (in the 3-0 league win).

“For me it is more important that we score 60 to 70 goals in a season, not that any individual scores.”

Cape Times

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