JOHANNESBURG – Despite the size of a club like Kaizer Chiefs - as well as its rich history - coach Giovanni Solinas claims he is still working on the “winning mentality and character” of the Amakhosi players following the defeat to rivals Orlando Pirates on Saturday.
The Buccaneers came from behind to claim all three Absa Premiership points in a 2-1 victory at FNB Stadium, cranking up the pressure on Solinas, who hasn’t been able to win the last four matches in open play.
“We’ve taken lessons from this Soweto Derby because the small details make the difference. We are trying to improve our winning mentality and character because we need to understand we are Kaizer Chiefs,” Solinas explained.
“I am sure in the future the guys will have this mentality. Sometimes in order to develop the right kind of mentality you need these games, where you need to manage your emotions. But we need to quickly forget this game, as painful as it is.”
Perhaps the coach feels he has inherited a team that needs to have its appetite to win revived after three trophy-less seasons under his predecessor Steve Komphela.
Before that, Amakhosi had won three league titles and two domestic cup competitions in the three years that Stuart Baxter was in charge.
“We are not sleeping, we are working hard for this special club. And for me it’s an honour and a privilege to be here,” Solinas said. “Every day we try to rectify our mistakes. Our character must improve.
“The expectation of playing for Chiefs is very big. This club is a very big club. We need a strong mentality and strong character. This team needs to manage the pressure. I am satisfied with how we play, for example I thought the second half we played a beautiful derby - it’s just a pity we conceded two goals (in the first half) after our goalkeeper saved a penalty. But we lost concentration.”
Solinas said he was not giving up on pursuing the Premier League title in his maiden season. Chiefs now trail leaders Bidvest Wits by six points and have played one more game than the Clever Boys.
“This league is balanced,” said Solinas. “We have won three games in a row before and we can still do it again, maybe even four or five. We are not giving up on the league, it’s not over.
“We continue to fight and we will try to win more games to put Chiefs in a high position on the log. Yes we haven’t collected a lot of points because we have lost two games (out of the last three in the league). But the league only finishes in May.
We need to be consistent as Chiefs can’t keep going up and down.”