Bucs focus on cup after Chippa win

HIGH JUMP: Orlando Pirates’ Thamsanqa Gabuza wins the ball against Chippa United’s Sandile Zuke during their Absa Premiership match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Picture: MICHAEL SHEEHAN
HIGH JUMP: Orlando Pirates’ Thamsanqa Gabuza wins the ball against Chippa United’s Sandile Zuke during their Absa
Premiership match at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium Picture: MICHAEL SHEEHAN

Palacios proud of side’s fighting spirit in PE

Orlando Pirates caretaker coach Augusto Palacios was happy with the character and fighting spirit his players showed in their 1-0 Premier Soccer League win over Chippa United at the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium on Tuesday night.

The win is a major boost ahead of their Telkom Knockout Cup semifinal against SuperSport United at the Mbombela Stadium in Mpumalanga on Saturday.

A first-half goal from Tendai Ndoro saw Bucs clinch their second successive win in the league under Palacios after they beat Free State Stars by the samemargin at the weekend.

Palacios was expecting a tough game and knew the Port Elizabeth side would be going all out for a win.

“Sometimes when the team are not winning games, they get desperate and want to hurry,” the coach said.

“We needed to control the mid field because we knew that they play through the midfield, but our plan was to get an early goal and then after that defend.”

“[It was] a very difficult game. Congratulations to [Chippa coach] Dan [Malesela]. “Yes, he lost the game, but the team played well.”

“It was typical that we scored early and we defended but the character of the players, the way they fought, was fantastic.”

Palacios said winning against “the most difficult team in the league, a team that plays the traditional football of South Africa” was significant, especially ahead of the Telkom semifinal.

“I told the players if we dropped points in the first half, it was going to be difficult in the second round if we were in contention for top spot.”

Palacios said it was better to take it one game at a time and that the players should always treat each match as a home game for them.

“This perspective that one is playing away and you come here for a point does not sit well.”

He pointed to teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona as never dropping back in either home or away games.

With the Telkom Cup up for grabs, one would think that Palacios would put all his energy into the big pie at stake.

But the coach thinks otherwise.

“We never thought about SuperSport while we were preparing for this game. We have been taking it game by game. “From tonight onwards we will only talk about SuperSport – not anything else.”

Asked about his future at the club, Palacios said: “I have been at Pirates for 21 years and my job is to help the club in any way I can. “There is no time mandate. “I’m only worried about the next game.”

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