Apart from the improved defensive structure that Pirates have displayed as they prepare to meet Highlands Park in the Absa Premiership at Makhulong Stadium on Saturday night (8.15pm)‚ Mhlongo said Jonevret’s positive energy is making a difference to the struggling Buccaneers.
Pirates managed back-to-back wins under Jonevret in the past week. They bounced back from a 3-1 league loss against Free State Stars in Orkney last week with a 4-1 win at the same James Motlatsi Stadium venue on Saturday night.
Then Bucs beat Maritzburg United 2-0 for their first league win under the Swede – ending a run of 12 PSL games without a victory – at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday night
“Obviously I think we’re starting to gel‚ and the team is doing well. We’re taking the instructions very well‚” Mhlongo said.
“Coach Kjell is a very nice coach‚ to be honest. He’s very bubbly and he’s brought in that harmonious environment amongst us.
“So we’re more family-orientated. And everything that we do is all about unity.
“So I think that’s what we needed and it’s working out quite well. You could see the difference from the Free State game‚ the one we lost 3-1‚ to the one we played in the Nedbank Cup‚ and the game we played against Maritzburg.
“You can see that now we’re starting to work as a unit. We’re very structured‚ and I think we’re taking in all the instructions.
“And technically and tactically‚ the guys are working on it and we’re getting there.”
Mhlongo said that Jonevret’s roll-up-his-sleeves work ethic‚ along with his enthusiasm for the game‚ have been a breath of fresh air at their Rand Stadium training ground.
“He’s a very bubbly character. He’s very happy. He makes sure that he keeps everyone happy.
“Whether you’re playing or not you feel like you’re part of the team. You can feel the unity and the vibe in the dressing room.
“So I think it’s working to our advantage‚ because he’s one coach who wants us to work hard‚ but at the same time not to be hard on ourselves – always have fun.
“He encourages us to enjoy football while we can.
“So he’s that kind of coach – he’s more of a father figure to everyone.. Whenever you have problems he always encourages you to ask when you don’t understand anything.
“I think we’re headed in the right direction now.”
Pirates are in ninth place in the PSL‚ on 26 points from 22 games. Highlands are in a desperate last place on 20 from 23.
- TMG Digital