Johannesburg - Despite already having a foot in the door to the final of the MTN8, Orlando Pirates boss Vladimir Vermezovic says his team will take nothing for granted next weekend when they take on Wits in the second leg of the top eight semifinal.
Second half goals from Siyabonga Sangweni and Thabo Matlaba helped the Buccaneers to a 2-0 win at Bidvest Stadium on Sunday, putting the Soweto outfit firmly in control before the return leg at Orlando Stadium next weekend.
“Every game is a battle on the field and at the end of the day, everything depends on the players. We as coaches can prepare strategies and tactical approaches but everything depends on them,” Vermezovic said afterwards.
“But nothing is over, there is another game, it will be totally different, we won’t be relaxed. We’re going to play with 100 percent of our abilities because we realise that 2-0 is a very dangerous result.
“Wits is a very strong team and we’re not going to underestimate them because of this result. Here in the Premiership and here in South Africa, there is no home and away game. Anybody can beat anybody.”
Sunday’s result ended a frustrating week for Pirates on a high, following a disappointing 2-2 draw with Bloemfontein Celtic in the league.
“There is a lot of room for improvement, it’s the beginning of the season. There are a lot of games in front of us, it will be up and down for sure, but at the moment, we are on a good track for sure,” Vermezovic added after a week of differing fortunes.
With the season already in full swing, the Serbian mentor will already be feeling the pressure as two of the season’s four tournaments collide, meaning midweek Premiership clashes sandwiched between cup competitions.
An indifferent start to their Premiership campaign - a defeat on the opening weekend followed by the draw with Celtic - Vermezovic said he was pleased with the Sea Robbers’ shift in mentality, thanks largely to last season, when Pirates reached every available cup final, including the Caf Champions League.
“Our philosophy is to play our game as long as possible. From the first to 95 minutes, there is a lot of experience in this squad, they know how to play, thanks to last season when they played a lot of cup games,” he said.
“Cup games are definitely totally different from league games."
“It doesn’t matter with how many strikers you start the game, it’s more important how many players finish your action."
“I like trophies for sure - maybe more than the players but it’s about (playing) good football and from good football, always, the wins will come and the trophies will come.”
With the games coming thick and fast, Vermezovic acknowledged that Pirates would have to find a balance and admitted that he would have to rotate his squad throughout the season, but not in the near future.
“I’m not going to make any changes because of resting. I don’t want to rest players, if they are not able to play every three days in the beginning of the season, what are we going to say at the end of the season?"
“They are in good form and if something is good, I’m not going to destroy it."
“For us it’s more important to make a good squad with good football and the result will come for sure.”