Micho explains why he's played down Pirates' title hopes

03 March 2018 - 13:01 By Marc Strydom
Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic (Coach) of Orlando Pirates.
Milutin "Micho" Sredojevic (Coach) of Orlando Pirates.
Image: Lefty Shivambu/Gallo Images

Milutin “Micho” Sredojevic has said he has deliberately played down talk of Orlando Pirates wining the Absa Premiership to keep his players concentrating on improving their football‚ and lessen the pressure on them.

As Pirates meet Kaizer Chiefs in Saturday’s Soweto derby at FNB Stadium‚ Sredojevic’s attempts to play down the Buccaneers’ title chances‚ even when they are on second place‚ four points behind Mamelodi Sundowns‚ has frustrated some supporters of the team.

But it has been in line with the methodical‚ step-by-step rehabilitation the coach has performed in his first season turning Pirates around from their disastrous 11th-placed‚ trophyless finish in 2016-17‚ that Sredojevic would move to reign in his players getting ahead of themselves.

“You need to know‚ that team that is leading have a coach (Pitso Mosimane) that is five years with the team. The team that we are playing (Chiefs) are three years with a coach (Steve Komphela)‚” Sredojevic said this week.

“We are seven to eight months together – we are a work in progress. And instead of looking at putting players under pressure for the league – no‚ focus and concentrate on the criteria and standards that are making you a contender for the league.

“And that is exactly the football aspects.

“Attacking-wise – transformation when we win the ball‚ open play attacking‚ set pieces.

“Defensive-wise – transformation to defence losing the ball‚ defence in open play and set pieces.

“So that these three aspects are the total focus and concentration of our players‚ in order to manage to get what we want from the game.

“I would tell you that with all due respect we have no right to speak about that (the title)‚ because it will lock the legs of our players.

“Let them feel free‚ let them express themselves. Why put the pressure on them?

“The pressure stays with me‚ coach Rhulani (Mokwena) and the technical team. Because pressure is our fuel.

“Let the players just be responsible‚ play their game‚ and enjoy it.”

Third-placed Chiefs are unbeaten in 10 matches. Second-placed Pirates have won three‚ drawn one and lost one of their last five.

PSL this weekend –

Friday:

- Bidvest Wits 1 Baroka FC 1

- Cape Town City 2 Chippa United 0

- AmaZulu 1 Mamelodi Sundowns 3

Saturday:

- Orlando Pirates v Kaizer Chiefs (FNB Stadium‚ 3.30pm)

- SuperSport United v Maritzburg United (Lucas Moripe Stadium‚ 6pm)

- Platinum Stars v Free State Stars (Royal Bafokeng Stadium‚ 8.15pm)

Sunday:

- Bloemfontein Celtic v Ajax Cape Town (Dr Molemela Stadium‚ 3.30pm)

- Polokwane City v Lamontville Golden Arrows (Old Peter Mokaba Stadium‚ 3.30pm)

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