Pirates coach Sredojevich urges players to get over the Ajax hiding
Orlando Pirates were handed a harsh footballing lesson by Ajax Cape Town on Wednesday and now have to show character and resolve to keep alive their title hopes‚ said coach Milutin Sredojevich.
The 3-0 loss at the Cape Town Stadium came despite almost total dominance from the Buccaneers‚ who were horribly wasteful in front of goal as they lost for the first time this year and slipped down to fourth place in the Premier Soccer League standings‚ five points behind league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
“We went into this game with the intention of picking up where we left off after Saturday‚” said Sredojevich‚ whose side beat Platinum Stars 2-0 away last weekend.
“We conceded from a set-piece but kept on attacking.
"But we didn’t have a way to break down the reinforced defence that our opponent placed in front of their goal.
"We tended to play into the squeezed areas‚ and despite that squeeze and limited area and time on the ball‚ we still created chances.
"We conceded our second goal to a counterattack that was totally against the run of play‚” he explained.
Ajax were 2-0 up at the break after goals from Musa Lebusa from a corner and Yannick Zakri‚ newly signed from Sundowns.
“At half-time we tried to motivate the players to come out and give their best‚" said Sredojevich.
"It was total domination from us in the second half.
"Our opponent crossed the halfway line twice in the second half … three times maybe and scored that third goal‚ again totally against the run of play‚ while our chances went a begging.
“We tried to walk the ball into the net instead of being much more cool in front of the goal.
“Overall it was a hard lesson for us.
"All the statistical aspects were on our side but the most important stat‚ and the only one that counts (the scoreline)‚ was not on our side.
“We are in a process‚ we are learning‚ we learnt so many lessons tonight.
"The biggest one was how to try and break down the reinforced defence of our opponent.
"When you are in a process and building‚ this is something that occasionally happens.
“I hope this result wakes up the pride inside of us to make us fully aware that the game of football can go either way.
"Football has shown in this game that anyone has a chance to win‚ even if what happened on the field was not reflected in the result.”
Pirates next host Maritzburg United on Saturday (kick off 8.15pm) and Sredojevich challenged his players to put the Cape Town experience behind them.
“We have to refocus for the game against Maritzburg and recover the team for what will be our third match in seven days.
"But it is a match where we really need to show character‚ measure our values‚ pull up our socks‚ pull up our sleeves and show that what material we are built from‚” he said.