JOHANNESBURG Orlando Pirates coach Milutin ‘Micho’ Sredojevic says that while training sessions can “fool us technically”, it is only a matter of time before the Buccaneers perfectly execute their game plan in a match scenario.
With another fixture scheduled tomorrow night at Orlando Stadium, supporters will be expecting a much-improved display against AmaZulu in what is the club’s final home game this year. Although Tuesday’s goalless draw with SuperSport United at the same venue was highly entertaining, the fact that Pirates did not score took the gloss away from their performance.
“We are working very hard in training and we have a dedicated group of players here,” said Sredojevic. “I can tell you that in training, where there is no competitive importance, things are looking much more easier. This can sometimes fool us technically. We have a persistent problem of one-touch finishing in the country as a whole, so we are trying a method which I can describe as missing the goalkeeper and passing the ball into the net.”
The stalemate against SuperSport was Pirates’ seventh of the season from 13 games. Sredojevic reiterated that the Buccaneers were working extremely hard in this campaign to right the wrongs of the previous term, which was characterised by an 11th place finish as well as the appointment of three different coaches - Muhsin Ertugral, Augusto Palacios and Kjell Jonevret - over the duration of the season.
“In two games against SuperSport last season we conceded 10 goals, something I had never seen in my life,” Sredojevic said. “We have been very much motivated to work hard and to prove the point that we are very competitive this year, and I want to give credit to the players for that. It is the small details that have decided whether we take the three points or not. We will try and make sure whatever we work on will result in goals against AmaZulu.”
He believes Pirates are still very much in the title race and could soon enjoy the benefits of a frustratingly inconsistent 2017-18 season, where there’s not much separating the clubs in the top half of the table to those further down below.
“This is the marathon of the PSL,” Sredojevic explained. “I am extremely proud that we had three matches without conceding a goal. But on one side, I think there is room for improvement in our build up and finishing. With the efforts they are putting in, the players really do deserve better. We are constantly analysing and trying to find the solutions to get us playing the way we want.”
The Serbian mentor isn’t the only one having a hard time getting a South African football giant back to their best. His Kaizer Chiefs counterpart Steve Komphela watched helplessly as the Glamour Boys dropped to seventh on the Premier League table on Wednesday night following a narrow 1-0 defeat to Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, thrusting him back in the pressure cooker.
The loss ended Amakhosi’s five-game unbeaten run in the league and has again thrown a spanner in the works regarding their title ambitions this season.
Chiefs are on the road against this weekend as they travel to Platinum Stars for tomorrow evening’s clash at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium.
It’s a potential banana skin no doubt given they clinched all three points away to Polokwane City on the same night Amakhosi were beaten by Chippa to cast doubt on Komphela’s future.