Milutin Sredojevic sensibly played down any talk of Orlando Pirates having title credentials this season following a convincing 3-1 Premiership victory over Mamelodi Sundowns at Loftus Versfeld on Saturday.
Pirates followed up a 3-1 midweek win against Baroka FC at Orlando Stadium with an even more impressive victory away against Downs.
The Bucs gained revenge for a 6-0 drubbing in last season’s corresponding fixture‚ and opened up the title race with a win against the leaders as they brought themselves within five points of the Brazilians.
But Sredojevic played down two victories in succession as making Pirates title contenders in a season where the coach said he was still rebuilding from last campaign’s 11th-placed finish.
"When it is good, I do not fly and when it is bad, I do not give up. I would not be myself if I would tell you now that we are over the moon‚" he said.
"No we are not. We need to be firmly on the ground. And in that regard I would say two good steps [with two wins in a row]‚ but we want many more steps.
"And the real test is the next match. Because big teams are recognised when they can repeat the things in sets of matches," he said.
Asked if Pirates are now genuine title contenders‚ Sredojevic replied: "I want to have respect to all the title contenders.
"When we started the league, we knew what the obligation was when we carry this badge. In every match, you have to have the intention to go in to win and to go and be a contender for any trophy. Therefore, I will not run away. But the favourites are still the respected opponents in front of us.
"We want to develop and improve and be much better than we are now. I see much room for improvement and space for development‚ and elements that are critical that need to improve‚ otherwise football will punish us next time.
"I see the things that need to be kept up and upgraded. And this is the driving force that pushes us to roll up our sleeves and go back to work."
Pressed further on the topic‚ Sredojevic said: "I will not allow myself to be caught in speaking big. I would rather keep a low profile‚ work very hard and let the performances and results talk instead of us."
Pirates host 11th-placed Polokwane City at Orlando in their next fixture on Saturday.