Milutin Sredojevic bats away Orlando Pirates title talk
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic has refused to enter into discussion about his team's chances of winning the Premier Soccer League title this season, even after they went to within one point of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at the weekend.
However, the Serbian coach is prepared to admit that the task of rebuilding the fabled Soweto side after a horror last season has been achieved, even if there is no silverware to show for their progress just yet.
Pirates were knocked out of the Nedbank Cup in the second round last Wednesday, but bounced back away at Lamontville Golden Arrows on Saturday where they held on for a nervy 2-1 win and moved to 42 points in the league standings.
Asked by KweséESPN whether he felt the ghosts of the last campaign, where Pirates had their worst finish in 20 years, had been exorcised by his team's performances, the coach responded cautiously.
"In a way, yes," he began, "but a club of our ambition and stature will always be looking for more.
"We are not settling for just one or two trophies. That is why we are never happy. Our supporters are maybe the most demanding on the African continent and we need to proceed hand-in-hand with their demands.
"They want good football, they want to win, they want to be happy, so we are doing everything possible to heal their soils.
"I believe they have many reasons to be happy with the style of football we are playing," Micho added, "but we can never be satisfied.
The moment you are in the comfort zone, football will punch you back. We are hungry for more and this is what drives us."
Despite Pirates undoubted progress under Sredojevic, and their proximity to league leaders Sundowns as the league reaches its conclusion, the former Uganda coach has played down any potential title talk.
"We still do not think about [the title]," he added. "Our total focus is now on the next match against Bloemfontein Celtic and this is the only thing we will be thinking about.
"When that match is finished we shall think about SuperSport [United], AmaZulu, Wits and Cape Town City and Free State [Stars].
"We shall go match-by-match, slowly. Let all the pressure be on us as a technical team. Let all the relaxation and improvements football wise be on the side of the players.
"We don't want them to feel any pressure. We want to improve our football and let the football be the way of collecting the points," the coach concluded.
"We'll see at the end how far we get [in the title race]."
Last season, Pirates finished 11th in the league in their worst performance for decades, and their miserable season was capped off by a 4-1 Nedbank Cup final thumping in May at the hands of SuperSport.
That was the last game for the Swedish coach Kjell Jonevret, replaced by Sredojevic in July.
Pirates now have a two-week break before the league resumes on April 3. Their next game is at home to Bloemfontein Celtic at the Orlando Stadium in Soweto.