Johannesburg - Orlando Pirates defender Patrick Phungwayo says the players
are responding well to head coach Kjell Jonevret and have become a more solid
unit under the Swede.
With Jonevret's arrival at the club in February, Pirates
have enjoyed an upturn in fortunes, and in eight matches, they have lost just
And after winning three of their last four games, Bucs have
reached the Nedbank Cup quarter-finals while also moving up to ninth position
on the league table, just a point outside of the top eight.
Having suffered a few heavy defeats earlier in the season,
the Sea Robbers also seem to have tightened up their defence and have only
conceded once in the last there outings.
"If you look at our system and the way we play‚ it’s
more about stability and being a unit‚" Phungwayo told the Sowetan.
"And I think that's what the coach wants to implement.
It's like‚ 'Guys‚ once you are a unit no team can score‚ or it's not going to
be easy for them..
"But now I feel like we are fine with what the coach is
implementing. And we're trying to implement it now so that next season it's
going to be easy when we start playing," the 29-year-old left-back added.
The former Bidvest Wits defender says that Jonevret has
managed to create an excellent balance of hard work and enjoyment.
"We're having fun. We've seen the hard side‚ of course‚
of the coach. Like anybody who comes with being fun‚ he wants you to appreciate
it being fun," Phungwayo explained.
"And I think we owe it to him‚ too‚ to deliver. The
coach is not a person who is going to want to put us under pressure.
"But of course‚ as players we know what it means to play
for Orlando Pirates‚ so we want to win games.
"The new coach is a very interesting person‚ very calm‚
he's a good motivator. And as you can see the team is coming together OK so
far," he added.
Apart from the Nedbank Cup, the main aim is to secure a top
eight finish this season, says Phungwayo.
"We've reached the next round of the Nedbank‚ so we
want to end on a high.
"We're excited about it. Because we've promised
ourselves that we need to finish in the top eight. Pirates is a big team. We
cannot be out of the top eight. We can't afford that," he added.