JOHANNESBURG - Kjell Jonevret says his side would need to up their game after what was a below par performance against Baroka FC in midweek, if they are to beat Chippa United at Orlando Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 8.15pm).
Orlando Pirates played to a 1-1 draw against the relegation-threatened Limpopo outfit after Senegal's Issa Sarr rescued his side with a superb header in the dying seconds.
What displeased Jonevret most was how his side left spaces open at the back for their opponents to exploit, while also lacking aggression up front to finish off inviting goal-scoring opportunities.
The Swedish coach said such a poor performance cannot continue if they are to stand a chance of finishing in the top eight at the end of the season. As it stands, Pirates are ninth on the Absa Premiership standings with 28 points from 24 matches, while Chippa are 12th with 24 points from 25 games.
“This is going to be another tough game for us,” Jonevret said. “My only wish is that my side do not stay in bed like they did in the last encounter (against Baroka), otherwise we are going to lose it.
“Chippa play far better football than Baroka, so we’ll have to step up. If we win this tie we can say we had another good week with two wins and a draw in our pocket.
“But I was not pleased with how we performed against Baroka. Having said that, I’m definitely ready for Chippa.”
Against Chippa, Pirates will be playing a side desperate for a win, after the Chilli Boys had gone 10 league games without a win in their campaign, leading up to this tie.
Chippa are two points ahead of relegation-threatened Baroka and Highlands Park, who are at the bottom of the table with 22 points each.
Failure to produce a win in this match will see the Chilli Boys slip down the PSL standings, should both the Lions of the North and Bakgaga pick up maximum points in their upcoming fixtures.
Despite his anguish, Jonevret expressed confidence in his side, adding that they would turn up against a Chippa side who will go into this clash without their head coach.
Chippa coach Dan "Dance" Malesela was given "special leave" by the club after his side's continued winless streak was extended to ten matches on Tuesday following their 3-2 defeat to the Team of Choice in their own backyard. His assistant Mbuyiselo Sambu will be in temporary charge.
“There’ still a lot of football - and a lot to play for. I still entertain hopes that Pirates will finish strongly this season. I believe we are going to win a few more games before the season comes to an end,” Jonevret said.
“Perhaps reaching the semi-finals of the Nedbank Cup competition took a lot out of us. After all, this cup is also important to us. Our goal is to finish in the top eight. I believe we are going to get there, as long as we continue working hard in training and play better football than we did (against Baroka).”