Johannesburg - With defending Premiership champions Mamelodi Sundowns failing to gain traction this season, coach Pitso Mosimane conceded that keeping up with the pace in the title race was proving a difficult task.
"At the top it is not easy, you need a string of wins and once you don’t get a run of wins then you are not that convincing. Four or five games in a row helps a lot because you get into the habit," Mosimane said.
Sundowns shared the spoils with Orlando Pirates in a 1-1 draw at the Orlando Stadium on Wednesday evening.
Log leaders Kaizer Chiefs enjoy a substantial lead at the top of the league with 37 points -- some distance away from Wits in second with 26 points and the Brazilians on 24 points in third.
Sundowns were unable to get revenge on the side that embarrassed them in a 3-0 demolition in their first match earlier in the season.
The Chloorkop outfit made a positive start away from home with an early goal from Khama Billiat in the fifth minute. But they allowed the Buccaneers to get back into the game and equalise in the 31st minute through a Lennox Bacela strike.
Mosimane said his team's false-starts was a result of better prepared opposition in a tough league.
"Everybody starts to draw, I don't know if you are aware of that. The league is getting tougher and tougher with so many teams playing to draws."
Sundowns entered the encounter with an attacking mind-set but failed to execute, he said.
"We came here and we went for the win. We scored first but then we conceded and allowed them to get back into the game. I knew that whoever scores first would have the advantage."
The former Bafana Bafana coach said the title challenge would finish with far less points than he had anticipated.
"Initially I thought this league will go to 70 or 75 points but I've changed my mind now. It looks like it will be going back to 65 points.
"We are playing six games in a row with only a day-and-a-half rest and we're only training once. That is not easy."
The match was Pirates caretaker coach Eric Tinkler's second match in charge since Vladimir Vermezovic resigned last week.
The Bafana legend said they tried to pin Sundowns back in their own half in order to put pressure on their defence.
"After looking at Sundowns and how they play, they are a team that likes to build up from the back.
"They are a team that always tries to commit players forward. We felt if we play high pressure on them, we could actually make it difficult for them hence we opted to go with two strikers."
Pirates were out to bounce back to winning ways after they were convincingly beaten 2-0 by arch-rivals Chiefs in the Soweto derby last weekend.
Tinkler said they were likely to deploy a tactic of two strikers after utilising a lone-man upfront for most of the season.
"It's something that we were thinking about for quite a while now. There have been games where we have, in the past, played with two strikers particularly Lennox and Kermit Erasmus.
"Lennox worked particularly hard after not getting much game time in the past, hopefully his legs will recover quickly in time for our next game on Saturday."
Pirates face Ajax while Sundowns take on the University of Pretoria at the Tuks Stadium, also on Saturday.