Orlando Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids claims Olisa Ndah's departure should not have been an excuse as to why the side could not defend set-pieces against Mamelodi Sundowns.
After a goalless first-stanza, Sundowns ran riot in the second as Themba Zwane broke the deadlock before a brace by Pavol Safranko and a late goal by Peter Shalulile killed the game.
Davids highlighted that the turning point for them was an injury to centre-back Olisa Ndah on the stroke of half-time but he also questioned his players' defending after his departure.
"It was a very good first half from our team, the injury to Ndah unsettled us slightly but normally we're very good on set-pieces, defending set-pieces and the two set-pieces is what determined the game you know," Davids said on SuperSport TV.
"Within the first five minutes conceding the first and seven minutes later conceding the second and that changed the game completely.
"The complexion of the game where we were on top in the first-half and those two goals definitely unsettled us, which we could not recover from.
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"With the fantastic first-half we had it was just about consolidating, yes the injury in the last moment of our half-time team talk where Ndah couldn't continue with a knee injury.
"But that doesn't take away why we couldn't defend the set--piece, we didn't concede this season off a set-piece at all, so we were really stingy in that department and to concede the two goals is what changed the game.
"We couldn't then lift our heads and continue to play the way we played in the first-half and that's really what we have to work on, the mentality, don't give up. 1-0 up in the first-half keep going, head up, keep strong like you did in the first-half and compete."
Pirates won't have much time to rest as they take on Marumo Gallants on Monday, as Davids commended their physical conditioning after playing a lot of matches in a short space of time.
"It was really a fantastic physical performance in terms of the high pressing, in terms of the counter-pressing, it's now the fourth game in eight days so really to be able to fight the way we did was good," he said.
"But the mentality don't give up once you go 2-0 down with two set-pieces, keep fighting, keep your heads up, you're Orlando Pirates don't give up and there's chance for you to come back, no matter if it's 2-0, you can come win the game 4-2 and that's what we have to work on.
"We've got to keep our heads up, take the first-half performance, recover and then ready to face Marumo [Gallants]," he added.