Pirates lost 2-1 to Cape Town Spurs on Wednesday night, failing to put their three games in hand to good use after collecting two points out of a possible nine.
And with that result at Cape Town Stadium denting their title hopes – as they trail log leaders Mamelodi Sundowns by 15 points – Pirates will have to focus on domestic cup competitions for silverware.
This is an avenue that Riveiro’s men know all too well, having won the past three trophies on offer – two MTN8s and the Nedbank Cup – to establish themselves as cup specialists.
Chance for four from four
The Buccaneers have a chance to make it four from four through the inaugural Carling Knockout Cup, having qualified for the quarter-final, where they’ll face Richards Bay on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).
Riveiro understands that Richards Bay will present a different prospect to Spurs at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, but he believes if they are at their best from start to finish, that could turn their fortunes around.
“Richards Bay is different and more aggressive in two blocks. You get lessons from every game that you play,” Riveiro explained after the defeat to Spurs.
“It’s not about opponents, but more about ourselves. Going forward, it’s going to be a huge test for all of us to show the type of material we are made of – as the players and coaches.
“We are here for a reason, and the reason is to show that we are here to win more than losing. In two days, we have a chance to change the situation (against Richards Bay).”
Sure, Pirates haven’t been at their best in the league, but they’ll still be favourites against the Natal Rich Boyz, who are incredibly closing in on a year without a win in the league.
But if they are to improve their situation at Moses Mabhida Stadium, Pirates will have to get their strikers firing again, after scoring only four goals in the past four games.
Evidence Makgopa scored for the Buccaneers against Spurs, who had led 2-0 through goals from Lubeni Haukongo and Jarrod Moroole.
‘No different to a cup game’
“What we do in cup games is exactly the same – we don’t change the way of playing or our intentions,” Riveiro said after their league struggles continued this week.
“But it’s true, for whatever reason, we are scoring more frequently in cup competitions … Today, we had created more than enough chances to at least get a point.
“Like I always said, football is a scoring game – it’s not an almost. You can do nothing with possession and attempts if you don’t put the ball in the net.”
Pirates’ scoring problems started after the dip in form of striker Zakhele Lepasa, after he had a flying start to the season, scoring 10 goals in the first 10 matches in all competitions.
In recent weeks, the duo of Kermit Erasmus and Makgopa, who again started against Spurs, have not been able to chip in with the necessary goals.
Goals must come
But that must come to an end against Richards Bay if they are to turn the tide and edge closer to winning a record fourth successive trophy, and ease the pressure on Riveiro.
“Our next mission is in the Carling Cup. We are going to Richards Bay with the aim of qualifying for the semi-final, and then continuing with the league games,” Riveiro said.
“This team is going to find the momentum for us. It was a tough result, but a test after the last three results that we are not happy with.
“We must be critical of ourselves and know that we can do things much better. But don’t doubt this group – I can tell you they are going to make it.”