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Ncikazi: We did not panic

Orlando Pirates coaches, Fadlu Davids and Mandla Ncikazi

Orlando Pirates co-coach Mandla Ncikazi was happy that his side kept their cool after going a goal down in the 2-1 victory over Sekhukhune United.

Seth Parusnath's first-half strike gave Sekhukhune the lead but Linda Mntambo's penalty and Kabelo Dlamini's long-range shot in the 75th and 78th minutes completed a dramatic turnaround.

And while Ncikazi once again bemoaned his side's wasteful finishing, he was also full of praise for the composure shown by his side to not let their heads down and always believing - unlike they had done after going behind in previous matches this season.

"One thing that I've seen as a coach is that it's always very difficult to play against a low block," the Bucanneers co-coach told SuperSport TV. "You need a lot of patience and they are very good with their counter-attack. Our rest defence has to be on point and I don't think with the goal that we conceded we defended well.

"But like you said this has been the story of our lives. Going into the match with Maritzburg, better chances, you don't score against Royal AM. But it's a work in progress. As long as now we can go behind and not panic.

"I think what was important at half-time is that we did not panic. We allowed the same team, same personnel in the second half. When we saw that there was no change, we changed the personnel, which I thought had a better effect.

"What I thought was encouraging was the ability to stay composed when we fell behind. Subconsciously I thought we would start rushing which happened in one match. But I just liked the character that we saw from our team today. Work in progress."

The Pirates mentor then rued his side's long injury list, but refused to use that as an excuse for their inconsistent form, while also saying the victory is a much-needed filip for the side ahead of the Soweto derby, which he described as the 'biggest match on the PSL calendar'.

"We have a lot of challenges, without making excuses I know in every team it happens," he continued. "But in our team it's extra-ordinary. You can make a list of a new team out of injuries. But God being God every reason, pre-destination, we don't know why it's happening like it's happening.

"I'm just happy that today it was not as bad. I'm hoping that Ndah is ok because you can see what's happening at the back. We lost Jele, now Ndah is doubtful. But hey, it is what it is. Let's move to the next match. The most important match in the PSL calendar.

"I'm just happy that we won today with every adversity that we faced. Let's look to the next one.

"The subconscious mind is very bad because when you see what has happened before you resort to a default position and we didn't want our team to go into panic mode.

"And I think it helped us today. We continued playing the way we play. If you are possession based and you want to use possession to create chances don't change now because you have fallen behind. You need the patience and against a low block they are waiting for one ball. Make one mistake and they will punish you. I think we did well second half in handling them in their counter-attacks.