We won a new trophy called Piratesophobia, says Pirates boss Micho
Despite the domino effect of one disappointment after the other, Milutin Sredojevic is adamant that his Orlando Pirates achieved some sort of silverware.
Pirates settled for a second successive second-spot finish, lost to Baroka FC in the Telkom Knockout final, were eliminated in the quarterfinals of the Confederation of African Football Champions League and lost on penalties in the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup.
But, as he surveys the wreckage, the Bucs boss believes the men in black have some bacon to show for their excursions - a trophy called Piratesophobia.
The new entry in the vocabulary of phobias means "fear of the Pirates".
"We have not won the league but the biggest trophy we have won is a trophy called Piratesophobia. We have seen the signs of the shift of power," said the Serb.
"Until the last match we have been fully in contention. In so many interviews we were mentioned even if we were not playing.
"We have caused widespread fear of Pirates. This comes from so many angles. When your competitor says this is the hardest league he has won, then you cannot win the hardest league if someone has not stretched you right until the end.
"This is not a Pirates that conceded six in the past but one that is steadily progressing and getting better and better."
For as long as Pirates do not stop their phobia of converting the myriad chances they create, that progress will remain a painful pill to swallow. The finishing coach has his work cut out in teaching the art of scoring.
"We give our best. We are not excuse making. We are not blame shifting. We are not fault finding.
"We go into introspection for a deep analysis of areas to strengthen. We need to try to bring down the number of losses.
"We played by far too many draws, 12, and have to turn them into wins. Six of them we were supposed to win and not draw.
"We conceded 24 goals in the league. We want to put that number below 20.
"There is no doubt that we need to improve our attacking and become much more clinical in front of goal. We must have a strategic target to score more than 50 goals and concede below 20."
Should the Sea Robbers succeed in correcting these areas of concern as identified by Sredojevic, it will raise expectations of a third time lucky with The Ghost.
Asked whether he shared the sentiment, Sredojevic retorted: "I will not speak. I will rather do." When they lost out to Sundowns last season, Sredojevic described the football Pirates played as tea without sugar.
It was pregnant with promise, so much so that this campaign was characterised as a pregnant elephant.The elephant has had a miscarriage and failed to make Orlando Stadium a fortress where even angels feared to venture."It's one very funny part. We had Orlando much more as a fortress last season. This season we have done more on the away point. It's been many unnecessary blunders. We had 46 matches, 30 in the league and we won 15, drew 12 and lost three."In all three cups we have failed on penalties. This is also an area we need to improve." Some will say win it in 90 minutes."That's true. We cannot point fingers." Fingers were pointed and questions asked, why Pirates continued attacking at will when they were 2-1 up against Cape Town City in the penultimate match."Last season we played three matches in Cape Town. We lost 3-0 against Ajax, 1-0 in the cup against Cape Town City and 1-0 to City in the league. This season we scored two goals and conceded six minutes to go."We even introduced the most press resistance and master of ball possession - his name is Xola Mlambo. Unfortunately it did not work. What happened, happened."