Pirates coach: we don’t feel the pressure‚ we don’t see a crisis
Stand-in coach Rulani Mokwena says with the team two points off fourth spot the clash against Maritzburg United is important
Increasingly pressured Orlando Pirates stand-in coach Rulani Mokwena has defiantly brushed off suggestions that he is wilting under the strain of the job and insists that his charges are making progress under his regime.
Pirates remain eighth on the Premiership standings after a stuttering start to the season, and their performances in the cups have been no great shakes either after early exits in the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout competitions.
Mokwena insists that he is not under pressure after managing 12 points from three wins‚ three draws and three losses in the league.
“There is a lot of progress and positives and that’s where we want to focus on‚” he said. “For us‚ we don’t feel the pressure‚ we don’t feel the crisis because we have proven that we can win games. Ours is to find a bit of consistency by winning two‚ three or even four games in a row. That is what we want to focus on.”
After their Telkom Knockout defeat to rivals Kaizer Chiefs on penalties at the weekend‚ Pirates return to action with a league clash against Maritzburg United at Orlando Stadium on Tuesday.
“No team can win each and every single game but where we come from‚ after conceding goals and losing matches‚ we have managed to stabilise the ship and we are two points off fourth spot‚” he said.
“It makes the league game against Maritzburg very important so that we can get a little bit closer to competing for the championship.”
Mokwena said the results of the past five matches do not show a team that is in a crisis.
“Let’s go to Pirates’ last five games‚ including the one against Chiefs‚” he said. “This one against Chiefs‚ the result was 2-2 after 120 minutes and we lost on penalties.
“Last season we lost in the same competition in the final on penalties. We also lost on penalties in the MTN8 and Nedbank Cup. Unfortunately‚ this one we also lost to a bitter rival, which is difficult to swallow because we also feel that we should have won the game.
“In the previous league match against Highlands Park at Makhulong [in October]‚ we managed to pick up the three points [1-0 win].
“We lost to Stellenbosch [also in October] but it was a game we should not have lost because we created almost 32 chances and we should have scored.
“Then you go to the Stellenbosch game that we won 1-0 [in the Telkom TKO]‚ then you go to Cape Town City where we came back and drew 3-3.
“In Pirates’ last five matches‚ there are two wins‚ two draws and one defeat and if that is not an upward trajectory‚ if you don’t see it as progress‚ then I don’t know what is.”