Johannesburg - Defender Siboniso Gaxa says Kaizer Chiefs have suffered a stuttering start to the season, but he is confident the Soweto giants will improve as it progresses.
"Winning the league last season and also the Nedbank Cup, coming into a new season, it wasn't going to be easy for us and everyone wants to beat the champions," Gaxa said in Johannesburg on Thursday.
"... For Chiefs, it hasn't been smooth..., but we knew it wasn't going to be easy.
"It's been a roller-coaster since the start of the new season, but we've picked up the form, which is good. We're not far from anybody in the league and it's not a big difference in terms of points."
Chiefs are preparing for their Telkom Knockout quarter-final clash against Free State Stars on Sunday and Gaxa said the Amakhosi were determined to add to the success of last season.
The Glamour Boys claimed the Premiership title before lifting the Nedbank Cup trophy to round-off a successful campaign under coach Stuart Baxter.
The form that resulted in Chiefs triumph last season has been slow to arrive this season. Chief lost out to SuperSport United in the league and missed out on a place in the final of the MTN8.
However, Gaxa was confident Chiefs could give their campaign a kick-start by edging Stars at the Charles Mopeli Stadium in Bethlehem over the weekend.
"It's a massive game for Chiefs, not only for us but for Stars as well," he said.
"I'm looking forward to the match and on Sunday we'll do what we normally do best and try and play some good football.
"Fortunately, we've picked up [form] and hopefully we stay in the form that we are in right now and continue to play good football."
The game is scheduled for a 3pm kick-off and with temperatures already rising well past 30 degrees Celsius, Gaxa said there was no point speculating about the weather conditions in the Free State.
"The weather is the same for both teams, not only for Chiefs but also for Free State," Gaxa said.
"Irrespective of what the conditions are, we can't change the weather, we can't change the heat or the cold.
"The only thing we can change is to apply ourselves and play good football."
Meanwhile, fellow defender Tefu Mashamaite said he was looking to continue his good form in front of goal, having already bagged two goals from set-plays in Chiefs' 3-0 victory over Polokwane City in the opening round.
"For me it's just about what is required of a modern player," Mashamaite said.
"I'm finding my feet and I'm just happy right now that I'm getting into the thick of things and getting into scoring positions.
"Scoring from set-pieces requires that we get good service. If balls are put into good spaces, it gives me an opportunity to attack them.
"It's one of my strengths and I'm looking to exploit that, which maximises my chances of scoring."