'We need to score over 50 goals – we scored 44‚' says coach Sredojevic
Orlando Pirates need to score more‚ concede less‚ and most importantly draw less games to improve‚ Buccaneers coach Milutin Sredojevic has said‚ as he seeks to convert potential into trophies nest season.
In two seasons Sredojevic has had Pirates playing competitive‚ attractive‚ winning football‚ without crowning that with a trophy.
Twice Pirates have fallen short in the Absa Premiership to Mamelodi Sundowns‚ as they did again on this season's final day on Saturday‚ a 3-0 win over Polokwane City at Orlando Stadium not enough for Bucs as Downs beat Free State Stars 1-0 in Bethlehem to retain the title.
Pirates’ evidence of progression from 2017-18 are that they reached a cup final in 2018-19‚ losing on penalties against Baroka FC; they returned to the Caf Champions League after a six-year absence‚ exiting in the group stage; and they narrowed the gap on Downs in the league from two to five points.
Sredojevic knows that in his third season he needs silverware.
The coach was asked about Pirates’ 24 goals conceded – a lot for a team challenging for the title‚ though the same as Sundowns‚ and also the joint-best in the PSL – and whether that would necessitate signings.
“To be sincere with you‚ the head is still hot.
"And when the head is still hot‚ we need to sleep over it‚ we need to go into the deepest possible analysis‚” Sredojevic said.
“The fact of conceding 24 goals can be countered with the fact that we have the joint-best defence in the league‚ the same as Sundowns.
“We need to improve and we need to get to a standard for this league that is really a standard that we are looking at.
“We need to score over 50 goals – we scored 44. We have the best goal difference‚ +20. We need to increase that.
“We need to instill conceding less than 20 goals in a season. We need to keep the standard‚ and to try to lose even less than our three games this season.
“We need to improve the draws to be turned into wins.
“But this is easy – we can now theoretically talk‚ and whatever.
“I can assure you Orlando Pirates are on firm steps into the bright future of our team‚ for the happiness of our supporters. Steady progress.”
Sundowns and Pirates’ 24 goals conceded this season equaled the amount let in by Downs winning the PSL last season‚ though in 2017-18 the least goals were 22 by third-placed Kaizer Chiefs.
In 2016-17 Bidvest Wits won the title conceding 22 goals‚ and Sundowns had the least on 20.
In 2015-16 Sundowns conceded the least – 20 – as champions. In 2014-15 Chiefs let in a miserly 14 winning the league.
This season‚ the high amount by Sundowns and Pirates reflects that both had to juggle domestic and Champions League ambitions‚ but also was an indication that neither of the two front-runners played safety-first football.
More concerning for Pirates was their amount of draws – 12‚ or exactly 40 percent of their 30 matches.