at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios insists that no player is guaranteed a place in the Buccaneers starting line-up.
Palacios said in the build-up to their midweek Premiership clash against Free State Stars that he would not let the club's fans dictate his team selections, with supporters calling for the head of struggling Ndumiso Mabena.
“I am a professional coach and I have been long in football so I know what I am doing,” Palacios said.
“I respect the supporters but they cannot tell me what to do.
“I know Ndumiso Mabena, that he is a good player and has the potential, and that is why I have been using him in our past games.
“In football you can only select 11 players in the starting line-up, so if I don’t select a player it does not mean I don’t like him.
“I look at what the players offer from training. The decision that I make is for the benefit of the team to win.”
Pirates were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup by Stars last week, and while Palacios said they could now put all their energy behind the league campaign, he believed it was crucial to keep things simple.
“We will go step by step, game by game,” he said.
“We still have a lot of games ahead, so at this stage I cannot predict who will win the league, but is very important for our players to understand the basics.
“They don’t have to do unnecessary tricks that will cost us or allow the opponents to punish us.
“We just have to keep it simple in order to make the situation easy for us.”
Having taken over from Julio Leal earlier this month, Palacios was confident he could guide the Buccaneers to the successful defence of their league title.
“We have quality players at Pirates,” he said.
“We have young players with great potential and also experienced players who are also playing for the national team.
“All that is important for us in our remaining games is to be consistent with our performance.” – Sapa