'At Pirates there is no friendly game'

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Pirates won the Mbombela Cup last week and though Saturday's tie at FNB Stadium is a pre-season contest for which team selection is controlled by fans, Palacios is understandable aware of the need to keep the pride of the Ghost intact.

"For us every game is important because there is no friendly game at Pirates. It is for that reason that we did not even undermine the team from Swaziland last week in the Mbombela Cup," says Palacios.

"We understand that fans have an influence in determining who plays and we respect that because this is one of the rules for this game. We don't look down on this game because to us we must still keep the pride up there and keep our fans happy just like how they are right now. So Saturday we are going into the game with a mindset of wanting to win the game for our fans," he says.

Though fans have the selection powers certain factors might force the team that the supporters select to be altered.

"We will follow the rules of the competition. The fans know the team well and it means they will want to see the best team take to the field. The Carling team is not necessarily the final team that will take to the field because fitness levels and injuries to players can force us to make changes. I worry about Pirates and not any other team," explains Palacios.

The veteran coach adds that he is happy with the way the team's pre-season preparations have gone so far insisting that the new players are blending in well.

"We are happy with the way pre-season has gone so far with the new players bonding well. We are preparing for the season and not just the Carling Black Label so we are looking at the bigger picture. With me I always believe that every player that the club signs is quality because that is what the club believes in. I am also happy that all players are fighting," says Palacios.

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