Cape Town - Mpumalanga Black Aces coach Muhsin Ertugral admits he always knew that challenging for the Premiership title would be a big ask of his team.
Aces were among the leading pack at the midway point of the season, but have since dropped out after inconsistent performances.
With 41 points, fifth-placed AmaZayoni are now 17 points behind league leaders Mamelodi Sundowns.
"The management came to me actually in November and December to say, 'coach should we not buy? And we asked very honestly can we win the league," Ertugral told KickOff.
"So why you want to spend money because all the transfers you see now in the (January) window (on our side) come from Mamelodi Sundowns. Mukuka (Mulenga) come from Sundowns and Bryce Moon come from Sundowns, and how much can they really contribute?
"But at the beginning of the season it was a really different story. It's in the middle of the season and we are limited on the budget. And I said, 'I don't think so we can win the League'. But in the end we need to be careful on what we bring in and how we bring in."