Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic was cognisant of the fact that his side had come through their “three doors of hell” as they scraped past Free State Stars on the weekend.
Pirates narrowly escaped with a 2-1 victory over Ea Lla Koto at Orlando Stadium on Saturday night as the visitors put on a late fight-back to make for a tense end to the encounter.
Though the Buccaneers dominated possession for much of the match, they struggled to penetrate a compact Stars defence that needed a tactical adjustment from Sredojevic and his technical team, which he says paid off rather beautifully.
“In the first half we looked to penetrate the opponent with a patient build-up and finding the solutions, however, it was not meant to be. At half-time we agreed to push our full-back higher and this paid us back,” said Micho.
“We need to give credit to Innocent Maela and Mthokozisi Dube, with quickfire we got exactly what we wanted – two quick goals, and I believe we scored a third, but it was disallowed, I don’t understand why, but now we cannot talk about that.
“We’re happy with the three points, with plenty to criticise, but we also need to remember that this was our third match in seven days.”
Victories against Bidvest Wits, Black Leopards and Stars saw Pirates open up a six-point lead at the summit of the Absa Premiership standings, supposedly the “heaven” the Serbian earlier referred to.
However, it was by no means a glamourous walk and the Bucs mentor admitted their legs grew weary on the heavy Orlando pitch, that also took strain from the team training at their match venue in recent weeks.
“The state of the field, being very slippery and muddy in some places, did not favour us because we’re a team that uses the ball,” he added.
“Due to over-usage of the ball, this field invisibly, when you pass the ball so much, sucks energy from your muscles and, as such, I would say we paid the expensive bill of a third match in seven days.
“In the last 15 minutes, I’ll admit we were not really ourselves, especially with the 2-0 scoreline being the most dangerous in football, but credit to the players for standing firm until the end to win the match at all costs.”