Daily News

Pirates don’t have a problem at the back, says coach Riveiro

- MIHLALI BALEKA mihlali.baleka@inl.co.za

JOSE Riveiro is aware that his Orlando Pirates team is not a welloiled machine, but he is adamant that it takes some doing for opponents to breach their defence.

Pirates returned to winning ways on Friday night when they trounced Swallows FC 4-1 in the “original Soweto derby” after their loss to arch-rivals Kaizer Chiefs the week before.

Despite finding their scoring boots thanks to a hat-trick from Monnapule Saleng and a goal from Terrence Dzvukamanj­a, Pirates conceded once again.

Since assuming the No 1 spot early this year, goalkeeper Sipho Chaine has conceded 11 goals in 10 Premiershi­p games, making for a worrying case amid their ambitions for the rest of the season.

Pirates are targeting a secondplac­e finish in the league, which secures qualificat­ion for the Caf Champions League, and a domestic double by winning the Nedbank Cup after already bagging the MTN8 earlier this season.

After closing the gap at the top with the win over Swallows, Pirates will now focus on the Nedbank Cup last 16 this weekend as they’ll host second division side Venda Football Academy at Orlando Stadium.

With goals and clean sheets vital in knockout competitio­ns, Pirates will have to ensure that they run a tight ship at the back. Not that Riveiro is worried.

“Do you think we have a problem in defence, really,” Riveiro asked after being quizzed about his team’s leaky defence.

“Do you see our stats, our numbers and number of times the opponent is shooting at our goal? We don’t have any problem. If we do, we don’t know what other teams are thinking about it.”

Despite being confident about his team’s defence, the Spanish coach is not naive, thinking they will keep clean sheets week in and week out.

Mistakes are part and parcel of the game, and that was how they conceded a consolatio­n goal by Mthokozisi Shwabule late in Friday’s game.

“No, obviously, we are a little bit crazy about the performanc­e and we like to see a perfect game. And 4-0 sounds better than 4-1,” Riveiro said.

“But the opponent is also playing, and football is a game of mistakes. So we made a mistake and I have to analyse the goal. So, there was probably some disorganis­ation.

“But the opponent is also playing close to the ball. Today, this team played more direct football. And if you are not concentrat­ing, it’s difficult because the second ball is very dangerous.”

Pirates will have to guard against those second balls against VFA as the Thohoyando­u-based team play similarly to Swallows: sit-back and look to catch Pirates on a counter.

Riveiro, though, is not looking to approach matches with fear. Instead, he wants to integrate more youngsters into the team, especially after including Ndumiso Ngiba, 20, on Friday’s squad.

“Our academy is part of the future of the club, and it’s our responsibi­lity as the first team to make good use of our talent (from the developmen­t ranks),” Riveiro said.

“We have a role in the preparatio­n (of these youngsters) for profession­al football for the future, so the communicat­ion with the developmen­t structures is very good at Pirates.”

 ?? ?? Jose Riveiro
Jose Riveiro

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