A loss for Pirates in Soweto derby will end title hopes for sure, says Ertugral
The stage is set for the blockbuster encounter between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates tomorrow at 3.30pm.
There will be no love lost when the Soweto giants square off in the Soweto Derby with one thing in mind and that victory.
Both sides are chasing for the Absa Premiership honours. Chiefs are at the summit of the table with 45 points after 20 league outings while Pirates have are third on the log with 41 points after 21 games.
IOL Sport's soccer reporter, Minenhle Mkhize conducted an interview with former Chiefs and Pirates mentor, Muhsin Ertugral about what to expect in tomorrow's Soweto Derby.
Ertugral spoke with Independent Media that while he is in Istanbul in Turkey.
MINENHLE MKHIZE (MM): Do you still remember your first Soweto Derby and how was it like?
Muhsin Ertugral (ME): Sure I do, It was in the old FNB Stadium. The fan base was phenomenal. The week before you could see the players were very motivated in training sessions. You needed to look in to more details because the mind of the boys needed to calm down. No extras motivational was needed even more to reduce the excitement.
MM: What was the result on the day and was it what you expected?
ME: We lost 1-0 , the late Denis Lota scored the winner for Pirates on the day. It was a game played at a higher tempo and there were a lot of missed chances. I still remember as if it was today. The things is that these type of games stays for ever. We missed seaters. Unfortunately after these type of games when you loose you can understand what it means to the players. They tried to much individually brilliance after Pirates were in the lead and played uncoordinated but we learned.
MM: Great stuff coach, what would be your advice to Josef Zinnabuer who will be seating for the first time in the Soweto Derby? How should he approach this game?
ME: Advising is not the right way. He is in day to day business with the boys. The derby is unique and can influence a lot in your day to day business to deal with challenges. Players are very excited and they can market themselfs with these game. I can always safely say that the tactical part in transition into defensive organisation plays a huge role.
MM: Who is under pressure heading in to this encounter?
ME: Pressure is on both sides.
It is a derby but obviously, Chiefs is under immense mental pressure.
They have lost the cup opportunity and the gap between themselves and Sundowns has been reduced. The way Chiefs played in their last games you could see that it has left a mark on their minds. Itu (Khune) issue as well is unfortunately created. A win for chiefs could bring the championship. Pirates has a positive momentum and that is very effective.
MM: Will a defeat for Pirates signal the end of the road in their pursuit for title honours?
ME: Going forward with the quick movement in the last third entries has been developed well at Pirates. Pirates is definitely weak in defending against standard situations. A defeat would end the hopes for sure. Pirates need to work with the coach regardless of whatever happens. He has transformed the team. There are elements to work on and it will get better next season for sure. Next season looks like a positive season in the making for them, if they leave the coach to decide on transfers or the approach.
MM: Who would you go for between Khune and Akpeyi?
ME: For me there’s no discussion if Itu is ready. There are key factors on the defensive organization that makes them look better when Itu is around. Chiefs are even quick in transition when Itu is around. There is as well the element of psychology for the back four when itu is in the side. He is a great tactical weapon when it comes to quick transition. Pirates is vulnerable on that.
MM: Well articulated coach, how should Chiefs approach this game after two back to back defeats? Do they have to play not to lose? In terms of Pirates, do they go all out for broke?
ME: Pirates will be very dangerous after winning the ball back especially in the second zone meaning in the middle of the park. Chiefs didn’t have enough security formats for that. The front line of Chiefs around the box is very dangerous. The supply becomes vital with Khama Biliat and Lebo Manyama . Long Balls and second balls as well as their strongest points. Another real danger for Pirates is standards situations, Chiefs is very good with some variation but mostly to the first post of the goal. I think you need a real plan B for both coaches. The leading team is always in a better position to win the game but most players generally add much more individuality in getting out of the formats. If pirates can engage Chiefs defence on the flanks to get behind their center backs they stand in a good chance. Their weakest point is when their center backs get separated.
MM: Chiefs have already recorded two victories in the derby this season, who's your money with, Chiefs or Pirates?
ME: Good question, personally I think still Chiefs will have the upper hand with Itu back in goals. I wouldn’t be that confident without him.
It will be a very open game for both teams given their strength going forward.Tactically, I think Zinnbauer has learned quickly how SA players tick. Hopefully, it will be a great game and an advert for SA football.