Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates reached 30-point mark four games too late - Davids reveals failed target

09:45 EAT 24/12/2021
Fadlu Davids, Orlando Pirates, December 2021
The retired striker was pleased with the fighting spirit displayed by Bucs players against Usuthu

Orlando Pirates co-coach Fadlu Davids feels that the Soweto giants have reached the 30-point mark 'four games' too late following the team's win over AmaZulu FC on Thursday night.

The Buccaneers ended the year with a 2-1 victory over Usuthu in a PSL encounter at Orlando Stadium and the win took the Soweto giants to second place on the league standings heading into the mid-season break.

Pirates were forced to make an early change after Kwanda Mngonyama picked up an injury with AmaZulu leading 1-0 at the time, but Davids was impressed by how his side reacted as Kwame Peprah scored twice to inspire Bucs to a win. 

"Our thoughts are with Kwanda in relation to our start getting the injury and then conceding the goal where he's struggling, where he's hobbling, where he's not able to do the defensive action and we concede," Davids told SuperSport TV. 

"That put us on the back foot but then we really gained dominance, putting in the structure in terms of our build-up and we were able to pass through the lines. 

"But in that first phase when we took control, we did not occupy the position, a ball coming into the box, the second ball and we were not there in position, to counter-press, we fixed that in the second part of the first-half and we got the goal."

Davids, who works with Mandla Ncikazi as co-coaches, was also pleased with the fighting spirit that was shown by Bucs players as the team came from behind to secure a win for the second time in four days. Pirates also came from behind to defeat Marumo Gallants 2-1 at home on Monday. 

"So, really proud of the players, it's been a tough camp, we've been together all this time and that togetherness and the fighting spirit really came through in the end," he said.

"It was really important with the four defence line to really stretch them as wide as possible, to be able to occupy the position. I think that is important, not only in the wide positions but in the vertical corridors of the pitch to have those three positions occupied.

"And then we're able to progress the ball from the defence line, into the midfield line, into the ten line and then penetrate their defence line, to have those positions, then you're able to counter-press," he added.

"So yes the width is important but also the positions in terms of our build-up to be able to create chances and score goals."

Pirates are 14 points behind PSL log leaders, Mamelodi Sundowns, who have accumulated 44 points and Davids believes they should be at least be on 40 points. 

"We reached the 30-point mark I think four games too late, at this stage [we should] perhaps be close to 38, 40 but we know it's a work in progress in terms of the progression of our team," he concluded.

Pirates' next league game is against Lamontville Golden Arrows at Orlando Stadium on February 16.