JOHANNESBURG – Despite Orlando Pirates taking two huge steps in the PSL title race, coach Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic believes that they are only contenders through their stature and not their performance.
The Buccaneers have started the second half of the season on a high, collecting six points from their first two games and scoring six goals in the process. Pirates are now five points behind pacesetters Mamelodi Sundowns who they defeated 3-1 on Saturday at Loftus. If the win over Baroka FC by the same scoreline boosted the Buccaneers’ confidence, the victory over Sundowns sent a strong message regarding their title credentials.
“I will not allow myself to be caught up in speaking big,” Sredojevic said. “I would rather keep a low profile, work very hard and let our performances talk instead of us We are far from being title contenders. But in terms of having the potential to be title contenders, I would say yes.
We will work very hard to remove the pain that our supporters have felt in the past. We will go the extra mile to do that. How far we can go? We will see. I don’t belong in the group of people who make threats to other teams and make promises to their fans. In football, when you make promises you aren’t serious because this is a tricky and unpredictable game.
The important thing is to pay attention to detail in everything that you’re doing. The last two matches have injected us with positivity, but we are still far from where we want to be.”
Pirates’ conversion rate has improved drastically in the second half of the season. It took the Buccaneers seven matches to score six goals in the first half of the season.
They have reached that tally after just two matches. It’s a solid foundation that the Serbian and his technical team can build on in their bid to wash away the tears the Ghost shed in last season’s disastrous campaign.
“I want to respect all the title contenders,” Sredojevic said. “When we started the league, you know what the obligation is when you carry this badge.
“You must go to every match with an intention to win. You must be a contender for every trophy, so therefore I will not run away from that fact. But the favourites are still Sundowns and other teams.
“We want to develop and improve.
“There is room for improvement. I see space for development. I see critical elements that we need to improve on, otherwise football will punish us next time.”
Sredojevic will look to ensure football doesn’t punish the Buccaneers on Saturday at Orlando Stadium against Polokwane City who have started the year with a mixed bag of results, beating Sundowns and then losing to Kaizer Chiefs.
The Serbian is preaching humility after two positive results that have given the Buccaneers hope that good days are on the horizon.
“When it’s good I don’t fly and when it’s bad I don’t give up,” Sredojevic said.
“I would not be myself if I tell you now that we are over the moon. No, we are not. We are far from that. We need to be firmly on the ground. We have confidence from these two steps, but we want to take many more positive steps.”