“We always prepare for the next game, where we research the opponent, and then we look at what’s the best position in our team.”
Orlando Pirates coach Josef Zinnbauer has backed his charges to be good Premiership travellers in February following an impressive record at home this month.
Having been prematurely tipped as a recipe for disaster following his underwhelming track record before joining the Buccaneers, Zinnabauer has shut up his naysayers by delivering where it matters the most, on the pitch, winning five matches and drawing one since his appointment.
In those matches, four wins were at home, while he enjoyed a win and a draw on the road. Add to the fact that, inclusive of those home victories came a famous win over champions Mamelodi Sundowns, something that hadn’t happened since 2011.
However, the new Sea Robbers have to implement Zinnbauer’s winning approach away from home as they visit Black Leopards and Chippa United and host Bidvest Wits and Kaizer Chiefs in February.
“We always prepare for the next game, where we research the opponent, and then we look at what’s the best position in our team. We then look around the talent and experience that we have in the team and work around for three points,” Zinnbauer explained.
Pirates’ strongest point since the arrival of Zinnbauer has been their scoring touch.
Striker Gabadinho Mhango is current leading the scoring charts in the league thanks to his 12-goal tally this season.
However, having scored eight goals under Zinnbauer since December 21, the Malawian will be hoping to find his scoring boots against Chippa United on Saturday, especially after failing to score in their last outing at home against AmaZulu.
In the bigger scheme of things though, the rich vein of form that has seen Pirates climb from seventh to fourth on the log standings has given the Ghost reason to believe they can dare to dream that winning the Premiership or the Nedbank Cup is a possibility after all.
German Zinnbauer disagrees that Pirates have a shot at the league crown, saying that winning the league with 11 matches before the season concludes is improbable.
“No. We’re looking at our next games and they’ll be difficult games.
“We have three points more and I’m happy about this but we can’t at the moment say we’re fighting to win the title,” he said.
“We have not so many points for this. When we have a chance, I will say we’re fighting for the title. That’s what we want but at the moment it’s too early to speak about the title.
“We’re concentrating on the next game.”
Pirates might have been flourishing up front, scoring 13 goals in the last six matches, but their biggest issues have been defensively, conceding four goals in those outings.
Sure, the Buccaneers might have kept a clean sheet against AmaZulu and Sundowns but they had a nervy ending, having been saved their blushes by goalkeeper Wayne Sandilands.
Zinnbauer is aware of his team’s issues defensively and that’s why he’s not punching above his weight, saying they’ll get better with time.
“We want to make sure that the other teams don’t get goals against us. That’s what I will be speaking about in the next days weeks and months,” he said.
“I think it’s coming (the time to challenge for the title). I think it’s coming and then we’ll see what it will be like next season.”