Orlando Pirates coach Muhsin Ertugral has admitted he has felt some sort of pressure to deliver this season. Photo by: Samuel Shivambu/Backpagepix

With Orlando Pirates’ 80th anniversary around the corner, Muhsin Ertugral has admitted he has felt some sort of pressure to deliver this season.

Ertugral missed out on an opportunity to ease the burden on his shoulders when his side fell at the first hurdle of the MTN8 at the beginning of this campaign.

Pirates were knocked out by eventual winners Bidvest Wits, following a 2-1 defeat at the Clever Boys’ home ground.

The Telkom Knockout, which kicks off tonight in a clash between Cape Town City and Bloemfontein Celtic in the Mother City, will serve as a perfect opportunity for Ertugral and his charges to make up for their early exit they suffered in the MTN8.

Pirates host Lamontville Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium this Sunday (kick-off 3pm), a side they beat 3-1 in their first league match.

But Ertugral said their previous result against Abafana Be’sthende won’t affect this one.

“With Pirates, pressure is always there. You can’t avoid it,” Ertugral said. “If my memory serves me well, this is my eighth big club I’ve coached in my career. I think I can handle it. You know how these things work, sometimes they work out and sometimes they don’t. With me, I always give it my utmost best to make sure they always do. But we’ll have to wait and see.

Ertugral believes that in Arrows they face a ‘very good side’.

“It is no fluke that they are where they are now on the PSL standings (second). We’ll give them the respect they deserve while we push for the required result to go through,”” he said of the club he previously coached.

Having lamented the heavy toll representing their countries has taken on some of his players, the fiery Turkish coach plans to give a few of them a break. One of those players will be Abbubaker Mobara, pictured, who hasn’t had much of a breather following his return from the Rio Olympics and his recent Bafana Bafana call-up.

“We have to rest some of our players, like Mobara for instance,” Ertugral said. “He’s had a hectic schedule and we’ll have to give him a break or otherwise he’ll get injured like other players. Thabiso Kutumela got injured in a one on one situation with Ntsikelelo Nyauza (yesterday morning at training). (Tendai) Ndoro couldn’t train with us and had to go for a medical check-up. Edwin Gyimah is still recovering from his tendon injury. Gladwin Shitolo is making good progress and hopefully he’ll be back after the Kaizer Chiefs game. Nkosinathi Mthiyane has resumed training and hopefully he’ll be ready in the next two weeks.”

While his dressing-room resembles a hospital, the Pirates squad is big enough for Ertugral to come up with a decent team to go past Arrows.

Meanwhile, Ertugral said he was pleased with the progress Tercious Malepe was making in training, following his arrival at the club from Moroka Swallows this season.

“He’s been knocking on the door for quite some time now but it’s not that easy for us to bring him in because we also have the responsibility of producing results.”

The Star