Riveiro emphasises team harmony over defensive records

Coach says consecutive clean sheets reflect commitment beyond numbers

Sihle Ndebele Journalist
Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates and Lindokuhle Mbatha of TS Galaxy during the DStv Premiership match on Saturday
Deon Hotto of Orlando Pirates and Lindokuhle Mbatha of TS Galaxy during the DStv Premiership match on Saturday
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

Orlando Pirates have established themselves as a side that’s very difficult to score against in recent months with five consecutive clean sheets in the DStv Premiership. 

However, the Sea Robbers mentor Jose Riveiro isn’t making the big deal out of their impressive defensive record of late, saying he’s more focused on being satisfied with the team’s overall play, albeit he likes the five clean sheets on the trot for those members of his backroom staff, who specialise in defensive work. Pirates beat TS Galaxy 1-0, courtesy of Deon Hotto’s free-kick, at Orlando Stadium at the weekend.

“Now it’s 13 games in the league and we haven’t conceded a goal in open play, only in set pieces and transitions so far. More than the clean sheets, that tells you more about the level of commitment when we are not in possession. Obviously not conceding helps you to be close to win...one goal is usually enough for us to get maximum points,” Riveiro stated.

“Even though we are an offensive team, when we lose the ball everybody is defending. To be honest, it [keeping five consecutive clean slates] is not an obsession. I am happy because there are people in the backroom who work very hard to make it possible, so it makes me feel happy for them.”

“If we want to be a competitive team, not conceding is key but I try to celebrate the team’s holistic performance rather than celebrating only that we don’t concede. [Not leaking goals] is important but I want to celebrate more the scorelines like 3-0, 4-1 and so on”

The Spaniard believes that their victory over Galaxy will go a long way in helping the Buccaneers to have a happy camp.

“With this victory, we can consolidate the good moments in terms of performances. I am happy for the boys because they are fighting a lot and now they are getting a little bit of rewards,” Riveiro said.

Overall, Pirates have leaked just eight goals in the league this season with only leaders Mamelodi Sundowns who’ve conceded fewer (three) than them.

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