Pirates have 'two cup finals' remaining this season‚ says coach Sredojevic
Orlando Pirates have "two cup finals" remaining in the Absa Premiership race‚ and they will devote all their attention now to winning the first of those against Cape Town City at Athlone Stadium on May 4‚ Bucs coach Milutin Sredojevic has said.
Pirates ensured that their destiny is‚ for now‚ in their own hands in a nail-biting sprint between themselves and Mamelodi Sundowns to the finish line‚ with Wednesday night's tough 1-0 victory gritted out at desperate‚ last-placed Maritzburg United's Harry Gwala Stadium stronghold.
The result put Pirates (53 points from 28 games) three points clear at the top of the table‚ but Sundowns (50 from 27) have a game in hand.
The Buccaneers‚ who have a superior goal difference currently (+17 to +12) to Sundowns‚ can seal the title‚ barring a scoring spree in three straight victories by Downs‚ with wins in their last two games in Cape Town‚ then at Orlando Stadium against Polokwane City on Saturday‚ May 11.
Sredojevic knows a fixture in the Cape next Saturday against Benni McCarthy's dangerous‚ fifth-placed City will be another tough outing on the road for Pirates.
"They are a team coached by a very good coach‚ with quality individuals. For us‚ Cape Town is always a hard place to go and play‚" Bucs' coach said.
"And we want to refocus from tomorrow [Thursday] morning on recovering our players‚ refocusing on preparing properly for the game.
"Because that is the next cup final. We have two more cup finals to go‚ against Cape Town City and Polokwane.
"We are expecting a tough match [against Cape Town City]. But we believe in our work of the technical team‚ going to the deepest possible detail‚ and believe in our players that they will give their best.
"We want to remove the pressure from their legs because it's not easy to be under pressure and play well sometimes‚ missing chances and making mistakes.
"Even tonight we are not satisfied with that.
"So we have positive things that we want to keep up‚ we have negative things‚ critical things‚ that we want to look at in the training sessions ahead of us.
"And this is how we shall refocus towards the Cape Town game."
Sredojevic said that the point that Sundowns stand to have deducted in an ongoing Premier Soccer League (PSL) disciplinary committee case for fielding ineligible Wayne Arendse in a 1-1 draw against Bidvest Wits is far from Bucs' minds.
"We want to give respect to Cape Town City and to Polokwane City. This is where our focus is‚" he said.
"The rest of the things we have no impact on. We have no impact on Sundowns. We wish them all the best representing the country in the best possible way.
"I wish for them to win on Friday away in Casablanca [in Downs' first leg of their Caf Champions League semifinal against Wydad Casablanca] and to make the country proud.
"This is all that we think about them. The rest of the things‚ we think only about ourselves."
Pirates are chasing their first league title since 2011-12‚ and first silverware since the 2014 Nedbank Cup.