Johannesburg – Orlando Pirates coach Roger De Sa says his team is looking forward to some much-needed rest when the Premiership season goes into a break on Sunday.
“We need the break. With the games we’ve played and how much we’ve travelled, the guys are looking forward to a couple of weeks off, to put their feet up and get their minds off the game,” De Sa said after Pirates beat the University of Pretoria on Thursday night.
“That’s important Ä to come back nice and fresh early January because it’s going to be very tough in the second half of the season for us.”
Oupa Manyisa scored a second half goal against Tuks to lift the Buccaneers to a 1-0 victory at Orlando Stadium, which was enough to see the Soweto giants safely out of the relegation zone and move up two spots into 13th in the league standings.
With Pirates’ participation in the Premiership, the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout cup competitions, as well as their strenuous Caf Champions League campaign, the Sea Robbers have played no fewer than 24 games since the beginning of August.
In comparison, the team currently top of the league standings, Mamelodi Sundowns, have played only 14 competitive games in the same period.
De Sa’s troops have one more game before the season comes to a close on Sunday, when they take on Golden Arrows in Soweto.
“It was the same 11 (players) two games in a row. We have to make sure that we recover them again and get them ready for Sunday,” De Sa said ahead of their last game.
Reflecting on the game, De Sa admitted his team struggled to see out the result against a resilient AmaTuks outfit who succeeded in frustrating Pirates.
“I thought we weren’t in it at all in the second half. We were very scrappy and we didn’t play.
“Tuks didn’t let us play. We always knew that they were going to be spoilers and give us a hard time, which they did.
“I don’t think we created enough, I don’t think we were that good today, but we're happy with the three points.”
The former Moroka Swallows goalkeeper added, however, that Pirates made too many errors in the game.
“There were some positives, some good performances obviously, but overall I think we made too many basic errors and we have to overcome that quickly.”
Meanwhile, Pirates skipper Lucky Lekgwathi said he was relieved to have walked away with maximum points, adding that Sunday’s encounter was a must-win if the team were to reach their target for the year.
“It was a hard-fought win. They’re not an easy team to beat so I’m happy with the three points,” Lekgwathi said.
“After our loss in the final (of the Telkom Knockout to Platinum Stars), we said we want to repay our supporters by winning the three remaining games of the year.
“I’m happy because we’ve won two, we’re left with one and we’re looking forward to Sunday’s game.” – Sapa