Orlando Pirates head coach Jose Riveiro says experience and leadership are bringing their collective spirit to another level which was evident in their 1-0 win over Kaizer Chiefs in the Soweto Derby at FNB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
While Chiefs showed glaring cases of lack of team work and bad attitude amongst players when mistakes were made, Pirates were the opposite, defending as a unit, encouraging and uplifting teammates.
Riveiro suggested that it’s not something that happened overnight and denied previous poor results were because they were lacking in that department.
“We’re making steps forward in that sense, in terms of leadership in the group and I don’t think those two, three bad results was a problem of attitude because usually the opponents demand a lot,” Riveiro said about the evident teamwork in the victory.
“It doesn’t matter who the opponent is when they play Pirates, sometimes it takes time for us to realise it’s not going to be an easy game. But to be honest, I don’t know how to answer this question.”
The Spaniard also noted the importance and magnitude of the fixture as he becomes more aware of his surroundings in Gauteng amongst the fans and the supporters of the Buccaneers around the country.
“In the Derby, it’s a special game, it’s not a discussion, it’s a game that’s played before, during and after the [actual] game – it takes one week, and I’m not in contact with so many people here in South Africa,” he explained about the Derby itself.
“But still I can feel we going to play Chiefs when I go to the supermarket, when I go have a coffee, it’s always the same, even when we still have to play Sekhukhune but the people is not asking about Sekhukhune, they asking about Chiefs, Sekhukhune is done.
“So I can imagine how it feels for the players when they are about to play this type of game but we proved that we can handle these types of games, it’s like playing a cup finals, we give a good level of competitiveness.
“You can’t expect beautiful football here tonight, maybe if we scored a second goal you could see something else but in 1-0, 0-0 like in the previous derbies, I think today was much better, the previous ones in the league were ugly but today we were more like ourselves, we weren’t shy.
“It’s because we’re getting more experience in these types of games and the players feel more comfortable, and we have players now with experience, personality and quality.”
The three points moved Pirates above Chiefs into seventh place, with 15 points from 10 games, while Amakhosi dropped down to eighth with 14 points from 12 games.