JOHANNESBURG - Despite dropping two points against Baroka FC in Polokwane, Orlando Pirates coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic insists that the Buccaneers are on course to meet their short-term targets.
The Serbian coach and his technical team have divided their 30 PSL matches into six sets of five matches. Two matches into their first set - a 1-0 win over Chippa United and a 1-1 draw with Baroka - Pirates now need at least six points from their next three games to meet their short-term goal.
“The target is to get at least 10 points in each set which would give us a guarantee that we are in the top half of the table,” Sredojevic said.
“We will then see in the January transfer window how we strengthen the team to challenge (for the championship). But we can’t look too much into the future to see how far we can go.
"We just have to work on our short-term targets and the rest will take care of itself. We are coming along nicely. We collected four points in our first two games. It’s not perfect, but it’s also not bad. We need to collect enough points in our next three games, where two of them are at home, to give ourselves breathing space for the next set of games.”
The Buccaneers will complete their first set next month with encounters against Ajax Cape Town, Maritzburg United and Cape Town City. The MTN8 semi-finals weekends and the international break will give Sredojevic much-needed time to work with his players after he joined the club 16 days before the start of the season.
In a short space of time, “Micho” has injected a positive attitude and given some new faces a run as he looks to shake things up and move the Buccaneers away from their miserable showing of last season. The Sea Robbers still lack ruthlessness in their attack, which isn’t helped by them losing their top goalscorer from last season, Tendai Ndoro, who signed for Saudi Arabian side Al Faisaly.
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“As a coach I believe that the best form of defence is attack,” Sredojevic said. “You need to take calculated risks when you attack. I am really concerned that we are not killing off the games early enough. But the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first two steps.
"I want many more good steps. The more our confidence and team spirit goes up, the more we will improve in our scoring and have an identity of a team that creates and scores plenty of goals. That’s what the fans demand.”
Sredojevic said he will leave it up to management to decide if they replace Ndoro before the transfer window closes next Thursday. In the meantime he will focus on working with the players he has.
“We are still a work in progress,” Sredojevic said. “I appreciate the players for the hard work they have put in. There are still so many things to improve. We need to work on how we defend set-pieces and improve how we go forward with the ball along with how we behave in the final third where we have a chronic problem of not converting the chances we create. These are some of the things we will be working on in the next three weeks before we play Ajax Cape Town.”