at the Union Buildings in Pretoria
Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios believes it is too soon to panic for the Soweto side after the triple Premier Soccer League (PSL) champions suffered a 3-0 drubbing by traditional rivals Moroka Swallows at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night.
Palacios declared that there was no serious cause for concern in the Bucs' camp in spite of the semi-final elimination from the MTN8 tournament and the deflating defeat against Swallows.
“The club had similar hiccups in the previous two seasons,” Palacios said.
“We still went on to capture three PSL titles each time around.
“We are presently in a similar position with an influx of new players and blending the new players into the existing squad and finding the right balance takes time and does not happen overnight.”
Palacios admitted Pirates' finishing against Swallows was poor and believes this was responsible for the crushing defeat against their Soweto rivals.
“We had more clear-cut opportunities than our opponents, with only the Swallows goalkeeper to beat from close-range on five occasions,” he said.
“But it was one of those games when nothing would go right in front of goal.”
Palacios, however, said he was not pointing a finger at his players for the ineffective finishing.
“As a former player myself I know there are days when you seem jinxed and nothing is going right,” he said.
“Pirates have the talent to do much better and it is all a matter of settling on the right blend and regaining the confidence that will come with it.”
The Buccaneers failure to score in any of their last four matches – in which two have ended in goalless draws and the other two in 3-0 defeats – has left Pirates' supporters questioning the leadership of the defending champions.
Swallows, in contrast, are flying high and in increasing in confidence after beating their traditional rivals early in the campaign and qualifying for the MTN8 Final against SuperSport United.
Swallows boss Zeca Marques meanwhile received some bad news on Sunday after it was confirmed his star striker Siyabonga Nomvethe had been forced to withdraw from the Bafana Bafana squad that will play Brazil in an international fixture in Brazil on Friday due to a serious ligament injury. – Sapa