Muhsin Ertugral says he knew the weaknesses of former club Orlando Pirates
Posted: 1 February 2018 Time: 16:30
Ajax Cape Town coach Muhsin Ertugral says he had a plan to outfox Orlando Pirates, but insists there was nothing special in getting one over his former club.
The Turk masterminded his side’s 3-0 victory over the Buccaneers at Cape Town Stadium on Wednesday night, having known which areas to exploit against his former employers.
“This was a great Pirates team tonight, make no mistake,” he told reporters after the game. “But we knew they would attack us in the first 20 minutes, and be open, and we knew we had that punch and were lucky to get in [an early goal]. It fell for us this time, where it didn’t before against Free State Stars and Mamelodi Sundowns.
“We were playing against a Pirates team that was really on song, a championship-material team. They are a good team, but also have weaknesses going forward, and we knew exactly where those zones were. Football is about zones, not necessarily having the ball. And sometimes it is about luck – you need to have those elements sometimes that just fall for you. The way the players prepared themselves, I must take my hat off to them – they need to show character on the field, which they did, and that’s the most important thing.”
Despite having the inside track, having worked at Mayfair a little over a year ago, Ertugral feels the side has changed a lot since his tenure in charge, and complimented counterpart Milutin Sredojevic for the work he has done so far.
“They’ve changed a lot – it’s not the same team, it’s completely different, and I think Micho has it right, from a playing perspective,” he said. “But we did very well against them.”
Getting one over his former team was not on the Turk’s mind however, as he continues his quest to guide the Urban Warriors away from the relegation zone.
“I think I’ve come of age. In previous years when I arrived here, there were lots of egos, but I think I’ve to an age where, at this point in time, it’s not too important,” he said about the win over the Soweto giants.
“Obviously every coach loves to win, especially in this type of situation, but I think there are more important things to focus on at the moment, to get this team going again. So for me, I can put a few things to the side and really get into it. When things are better, we can come with more pride and dignity, but at the moment it’s about getting the boys to believe in what they are doing.”
Ertugral feels the victory will definitely increase the confidence levels of the squad for the remainder of the season, as they prepare to take on Polokwane City in their next league encounter on Sunday afternoon.
“If we can beat Pirates 3-0, the way we played with that organisation pattern, then in the next step they will be more confident,” he said. “This game will definitely lift morale and self-belief.”