It's just a matter of playing the game, and not the occasion, according to Happy Jele.
WHILE denying that Orlando Pirates are in the title race, Happy Jele unwittingly revealed why the Buccaneers are fighting for the Absa Premiership.
“We are not in a title race,” Jele said at Rand Stadium. “Remember two months ago we were 19 points behind (Kaizer Chiefs). Now we are in the title race?
Games in hand
“It’s not happening. If you can look at it clearly, some of the teams still have games in hand so they can still get some points. For us it is to just finish in a good position at the end of the season. We just need to get three points this weekend.”
The fact that Pirates managed to claw their way from the bottom half of the log to being within six points of the log-leaders shows the momentum they are on under coach Josef Zinnbauer.
That’s important, especially with Amakhosi having hit a speed bump. Pirates have won seven of their last eight games and they drew the other in the premiership.
They have gone from the middle of the table to the top half with the big boys. Even though they have played one more game than Amakhosi, Saturday’s Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium could be a leveller as a win would not only give Pirates maximum points but it would also stall their rival’s march to glory. This should make this derby an exciting encounter with a lot at stake.
“It’s just a matter of playing the game, and not the occasion,” Jele said. “The tactics do play a big role, but because of the noise we can’t hear some of the instructions during the game.
“What you do on the game is something that you had been doing leading up to the game anyway. The mood has been great.
“Each and every one is putting in an input, which is a good sign. But for us it is just a matter of doing our best on Saturday. We will see what’s going to happen after.”
The club’s turnaround under the German has been inspirational. Zinnbauer has injected a lot of character and a never-say die attitude that has seen the club able to rescue many tough situations.
The Pirates that Chiefs will face tomorrow will be very different from the one they beat twice in two weeks – knocking them out of the Telkom Knockout and compounding their woes in the league.
“We told ourselves that we need to finish in a better position this season,” Jele said.
“We didn’t start very well, and we weren’t happy about that. We are just pushing for a better position for the team.
“We just have momentum now. For us it is important to finish in a good position this season because we were not happy with the way we started this season. All we need is to take it step by step and get maximum points.”
What is a good position then for a club that finished second two seasons in a row?
“We will see,” Jele said. “All I can say is that we didn’t start well. The goals we set for ourselves this season we haven’t achieved. They aren’t back on track just yet.”