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Micho - 'Every match is a cup final'

Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic
Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic is viewing every match in the run-in as 'a cup final' after their 1-0 victory over Maritzburg United at Harry Gwala Stadium on Wednesday evening.

With the win, Pirates went three points clear at the top of the Absa Premiership standings and 'Micho' admitted it was never an easy game at Harry Gwala stadium, where his side had previously been without a win in their last four matches at the venue.

"It's never easy to come to Maritzburg," said the Serbian tactician.

"With the amount of internationals they have and players that are candidates for Bafana and being in 16th place, it was a mental game.

"It was important for our players to treat it like a cup final. It is always nice to come in this football atmosphere. It was a tough, competitive game where the game could go either way.

"The moment in the second half when we scored the goal, they started putting high balls in to our box. That required us to bring Ndengane on and play centrally so the full-backs could block the crosses.

"From such a situation, we created many more chances to kill the game which we missed, which made it very tense for us in the last moments of the game."

The Buccanneers boss hailed his players' never-say-die attitude and then switched his focus to the next game, which is a trip to face Cape Town City at Athlone Stadium and also compared that tie to a 'cup final'.

"I want to give credit to the players for all the hard work they have done," said the 49-year-old.

"We have sweat tears and blood throughout the season. We are looking for the second consecutive time to go in to the Champions League. We are looking towards the next game against Cape Town City.

"We are only taking it one game at a time. Next match is a cup final at Athlone Stadium in Cape Town."

Finally, Sredojevic paid tribute to the fans for supporting the players 'through thick and thin', whom he referred to as his side's 12th man.

"We shall give all the best in the next 180 minutes," said 'Micho'.

"Our power lies in our players' commitment, dedication and hard work. Our player number 12 is our supporters that have carried us.

"I want to give credit to the supporters for sticking with us through thick and thin. Without them we would not have been able to stretch ourselves to the limit and reach 53 points.