'That calamitous goal we conceded put us on the back foot‚' says Pirates coach Sredojevic

Milutin Sredojevic, head coach of Orlando Pirates thanks the fans for their support before the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on 28 April 2018.
Milutin Sredojevic, head coach of Orlando Pirates thanks the fans for their support before the Absa Premiership 2017/18 game between Cape Town City and Orlando Pirates at Cape Town Stadium on 28 April 2018.
Image: ©Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

Orlando Pirates are a work in progress and the sophisticated brand of football they are striving for in 2018-19 might require more than a few tweaks to reach its peak‚ coach Milutin Sredojevic has admitted.

Pirates are clearly striving for a brand of football that‚ if it clicks‚ and with their player and technical staff power‚ could be almost unstoppable.

Such football‚ though‚ can take longer to implement.

Bucs have a chance to perform a fair share of the tweaks they need in their second match against Chippa United at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Wednesday night.

After all the hype and expectation to one of Pirates’ most eagerly awaited season kickoffs in some time‚ almost unsurprisingly they could not quite click in their 1-1 Absa Premiership draw against promoted Highlands Park on Saturday night.

Wayne Sandilands’ goalkeeping howler to let in Gladwin Shitolo’s backpass in the 15th minute put Pirates under pressure and upset what seemed a team trying to come out with the efficiency of a Swiss clock against a defensive Highlands at Orlando Stadium.

“We had a very good preseason‚ we worked ourselves very hard in planning every detail‚ including for the game against Highlands‚” Sredojevic said.

“But the beauty of this game [football]‚ ever since it was established in 1863‚ is exactly that you never know what could happen to you.

“That calamitous goal that we conceded put us on the back foot.

“Until that moment we played against a very organised opponent defensively. From that moment we started to play against an opponent and a result.

“ … We need to improve in the buildup‚ to play much faster and to have many more elimination passes that are forward-orientated and penetrative.

“And we need to find the varieties of entrances into attack and finishing that will make us a team that is in full competitive form.”

Sredojevic was asked why a “delicious meal” he had two weeks ago said he and his technical staff were cooking up for the supporters had not quite materialised.

He said Pirates are a work in progress.

“I have the deepest regret‚ and I would apologise to our supporters.

"I do not remember in a long time when Orlando Stadium had this many supporters [it was almost half-full]. We owe them‚” the coach said.

“This is a marathon of 30 matches‚ and although it is not good to not win a game that we have planned to‚ the blessing in disguise is that this is a league where you can still do the corrections you need to.

“We believe in the work we are doing‚ in the players we have‚ and we know we will do much better.”

After Chippa in the league‚ Pirates have their MTN8 quarterfinal against SuperSport United at Orlando on Saturday night.

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