'My players lost focus'
Vladimir Vermezovic (Gallo)
Johannesburg - Vladimir Vermezovic was content with the 1-0 win over Bloemfontein Celtic on Saturday evening, but admitted Kaizer Chiefs had one eye on the Soweto derby.
Amakhosi face their arch rivals Orlando Pirates in the second leg of the MTN8 semi-final on Sunday and failed to give Phunya Sele Sele their full attention at the Rand Stadium.
"We must understand sometimes when you have to play a big game and first you play another team it can be difficult to focus," the Serbian explained after the game.
"We had to play Celtic, but of course everyone knows that next Sunday we are going to play against Orlando Pirates in the MTN8 semi-final and I think maybe my players were thinking of that match.
"I suppose Pirates had the same problem and maybe they thought too much about the game on Sunday than their game against Bidvest Wits and that's the reason maybe they lost two points because they drew.
"At least we won our match and I have to say my players showed against Celtic that they are professionals, but I will try to teach my players that every game is important.
Vermezovic was nevertheless pleased with his defence as captain Jimmy Tau, Punch Masenamela, Valery Nahayo and Dominic Isaacs put in some hard graft.
"I'm satisfied with the result. It was a nice game to watch and both teams played an open game and I must say Celtic tried to use the long balls trying to find Nathan Paulse," added 'Vlad V'.
"He is a very dangerous guy but our plan was to make sure that we win the second ball. We knew we couldn't beat him in the air, so we had to first wait for him to win the first ball, but make sure we win the second one, which in the end worked well for us. In most situations we won the second ball and my defence did very well on that."
Vermezovic revealed his delight after Chiefs' next league match against Moroka Swallows, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, was postponed.
"It gives us more time to work on the Pirates match so I'm very happy," he concluded.