Johannesburg - Bidvest Wits coach Gavin Hunt says his team was quietly going about their business and have not set themselves any targets for the season.
Hunt, who is in his second season as the coach of the Clever Boys, will be hoping for a similar campaign to his hugely successful first season where he guided Wits to a third-place finish in the Premiership.
"From our perspective, I’ve never made an utterance about challenging. We made small strides going forward but then we lost the core of the team," Hunt said.
"We’re under no illusions about the teams that we’re up against. We’ve got a new group of players."
Wits and Pirates are set to meet on Sunday for the first time since the Buccaneers’ 3-1 victory over Hunt’s side in the final of the Nedbank Cup in May.
Kermit Erasmus scored a second half brace to guide the Soweto side to their first trophy under new coach Vladimir Vermezovic.
Hunt earlier in the week emphasised the need for Wits to take care of the dangerous attacker, who he believes is "the best striker in the country".
Wits head into the semi-final clash having endured three lacklustre performances since at start of the season.
Hunt, however, was adamant he wants nothing more than to win and would take "ugly wins" as long as they remained available.
The Clever Boys scraped through the opening round of the MTN8 after a penalty shoot-out victory over Bloemfontein Celtic a fortnight ago.
Hunt’s troops looked undercooked and then bagged a late 1-0 win over SuperSport United in their opening Premiership game of the season the following week, scoring the lone goal from the penalty spot.
Then they were held to a 1-1 draw in a midweek PSL clash against rivals University of Pretoria after having fallen behind within the opening five minutes.
Hunt admitted, losing a number of key players at the end of last season was a setback, but added that he was encouraged by the new members in the squad.
"Our team that played in the Nedbank Cup final against Pirates, I think there will be eight changes from that team. It does take time," he said.
"You can have the pre-season games, as many as you like, but you need the real games."
Pirates coach Vermezovic called on the Buccaneers to draw on their experiences last year, where they competed in four cup finals, winning only at the final hurdle in the Nedbank Cup.
"Our team played four finals last season and they know what to expect from this game. I know that nothing will be over in the first leg," he said.
"It’s very important for us to score in the first leg, but in this league anyone can beat anyone."