Johannesburg – It was a relief to get a first win under his belt, Orlando Pirates boss Vladimir Vermezovic said after guiding his team to a 1-0 win over Moroka Swallows in Soweto on Wednesday.
“Before the game, we said it would be very difficult,” the coach affectionately known as VV said after his first match in charge.
“Moroka Swallows have got some amazingly experienced players and it wasn't easy for us. But the most important thing for us was to get three points here and go into the derby in a good mood.”
Having received his work permit and been cleared to take charge, Vermezovic watched on as Kermit Erasmus netted an early first half goal which proved the difference and guided Pirates to a tough victory on a soggy Dobsonville pitch.
The Serbian oversaw his first game on South African shores in almost two years, after his departure from fierce rivals Kaizer Chiefs in May 2012.
Struggling to hide his excitement at the prospect of facing his former employers in the Soweto Derby on Saturday, Vermezovic said he and his team would have to get straight back into preparing for Chiefs on in two days' time.
“There is not too much time but our guys know how they are going to play against Chiefs,” he said.
“We are happy with the result because this is an historic derby. And good for us going into the next one.”
The win was enough the see Pirates move to fourth position in the league standings, bouncing back from a shock defeat against the University of Pretoria last weekend.
Pirates skipper Lucky Lekgwathi revealed that the Sea Robbers had responded well to the new coach, adding that the Buccaneers were not ruling themselves out of the title race just yet.
“The first week under VV has been good. He is a good coach and knows what he wants. I look forward to working with him,” Lekgwathi said.
“We have been climbing slowly and quietly. As far as we are concerned it's not over until it's over. We will keep pushing on.”
Meanwhile, Swallows coach Zeca Marques remained optimistic about his team's chances, despite extending their run of games without a win to seven, and having not won a match in 2014.
“Though we failed to win, we have turned the corner in terms of our performance,” Marques said.
“We completely dominated the match in the second half and we deserved something out of the game.
“There are a lot of tired legs in the team and hence we are having this slump.” – Sapa