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Home matches are crucial – Palacios

Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates' coach Augusto Palacios believes the key to retaining their Premiership crown lies in their winning all their home matches this season.

The Buccaneers, who are two-time successive league winners, aim to be the third side to win three championships in a row after Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United.

Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios. Credit: Gallo Images

“That is the message we discussed with the players this morning; we had a meeting before training,” Palacios said on Wednesday.

“We have to win all of our home games for us to challenge the league.

“We need to have a winning mentality. This is what we will be taking seriously.”

All pressure is on Pirates, having lifted six of the eight domestic trophies on offer in the past 24 months.

The side's finishing remains a concern ahead of their Premiership opening encounter against Golden Arrows, at Orlando Stadium on Friday evening.

It took a controversial late penalty to ensure they progressed to the MTN8 semi-finals, beating Bloemfontein Celtic, at the weekend.

“The finishing was a problem because we needed to be cool in the box,” said Palacios.

“There are some mistakes that we need to correct. We still created chances. Their goalkeeper had to make three saves in the second half.”

The Pirates side boasts a formidable squad, arguably the best in the country.

Palacios was quick to shoot down talk of employing a rotation policy to keep every player happy during the season.

“We have a squad of 31 players, and I'm not thinking about the cup competitions (later in the season),” he said.

“If we are going to make changes, it would be two or three players, but (this would) still maintain the balance of the team.

“It is impossible to have two separate teams for cup and (league) competition.” – Sapa

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