Thabo Qalinge, Justin Shonga and Lyle Foster of Orlando Pirates sit dejected after the loss Cape Town City which saw Mamelodi Sundowns win the league title. Photo: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojević may have lost out on the PSL title to Mamelodi Sundowns, but he is happy with what his team has achieved this season. 

The Soweto club’s 1-0 defeat to Cape Town City ensured that, with one game to go, Sundowns are the champions of the PSL. For Sredojević, though, the campaign hasn’t been so much about a title-challenge as it has been about setting the foundation for the future.

“I have to be sincere and thank the chairman and the management of the club for providing the conditions for us to do our jobs as a technical team,” he said. 

“I have to thank the players who worked extremely hard to be better and to create that Orlando Pirates identity; they respected the jersey, they respected the badge. And I have to thank the supporters for always being our player No 12; we felt their support and they helped us.

“The team grew up as the season progressed. This was part of the building process and in the second half of the season we proved ourselves. In football, there is no automatic button, so there is still a lot to do. But there are many positives to take from the season. We shall strengthen the squad where we need to; I think we significantly out-matched what the team achieved last season. We have laid a good foundation and next season we can look at bringing in some silverware.”

As for the defeat to City, Sredojević said Pirates had learnt a valuable lesson from the game.

“It was a tough game (against City),” he said. “We knew that it would be decided by one moment of brilliance. We had our chances, but once you concede against an organised and well-coached team like City, then you are always going to be vulnerable on the counter-attack.

“In the second half, we tried to crack the defence in front of us, but couldn’t. Result-wise, we may have lost the match, but football-wise we learnt a lesson. Going forward, we will know how to play against an organised defence, and we will know how to be better.”

IOL Sport

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