JOHANNESBURG - Pitso Mosimane was in his element at the Orlando Stadium auditorium on Wednesday night, throwing jabs that had the ferocity of a knockout punch while also giving praise with the same enthusiasm.
The Mamelodi Sundowns’ coach hit out at people who play “bad football” by parking the bus and his detractors who said he was humbled by football after suffering three successive defeats for the first time with the Chloorkop-based team.
But he also praised assistant referee Zakhele Siwela for his officiating and Orlando Pirates, victims of Sundowns’ 3-1 win, for coming to play “proper football”. Mosimane argued that Pirates’ offensive approach is why these two teams always produce a thriller whenever they face each other as they both go for the jugular. The win gave Mosimane some respite after an unprecedented run of defeats.
“I think that this win will motivate the players, bring them up from the low and help them to regain their self-belief,” Mosimane said. “We needed that. We needed a reliever. But our fans needed it the most. We needed to give them something to brag about so that they can sing for us.
"I was told that before this spell, the last time I lost this many games in a row was at SuperSport United where I lost four in a row. It happened so long ago that I don’t even remember it which is why it was hard to deal with this losing run. It’s not something I am used to. Our fans were disappointed. They are right because they are used to winning. We had to bring respect back.”
The outgoing African champions defended better against a rejuvenated Pirates team. What they also did well was to press the Buccaneers from the onset to get two quick goals and unsettle them. It was a return of the old Sundowns, the one that hit their opponents early so that by the time they recover the Brazilians are cruising and are almost home and dry.
That element wasn’t there in their defeats to Kaizer Chiefs, AmaZulu and Chippa United which is how their opponents hurt them with Sundowns not controlling the match on the scoreboard like they normally do.
“We asked ourselves, are we still good,” Mosimane said. “I doubted myself also and checked have I been lucky in these 15 years or what?”
This win continued what has been an abnormal trend for Sundowns in the PSL, losing all their games at home and winning all their matches on the road. Mosimane believes that their vulnerability at the moment could count in their favour.
“Teams are starting to believe that they can beat Sundowns,” Mosimane said. “If AmaZulu can beat us, easily like that, people believe that they can beat Sundowns. Chippa (United) believed that they can beat us. It’s okay for us to be on a low a little bit, maybe people will come and play.
"Then we can play, unlike when we are dominant all the time and then we struggle to move the bus that they park in front of us We want people to play so that we can also play. But people play not to lose. I don’t blame them because I have a team that has a lot of talented players.
"Maybe if I was in the same situation (lacking the quality that we have) I would do the same. But I was at SuperSport United, which wasn’t one of the big teams, I don’t remember parking the bus.”