Palacios wants Pirates to be ruthless

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That appointment came after Pirates were handed a 6-1 drubbing by SuperSport United in their home game played in Mbombela Stadium, Nelspruit, two weeks ago.

Palacios only had a few days to work with the team before they played Highlands Park in the Telkom Knockout quarter-finals that very week.

The Peru-born coach said he was pleased to have walked way with the 2-1 result.

“That win gave my players the confidence to pick themselves up from that result against SuperSport and move on with their lives. We needed that,” Palacios said.

The coach said the Fifa international break gave him time to work with his players and get them to play the way he wants them to play.

Palacios is confident his side will perform well when they host Free State Stars in an Absa Premiership match at Orlando Stadium today (kick-off 6pm).

“This (international) break came at the right time for us,” Palacios said.

“There were a whole lot of things we needed to sort out moving forward, and we were able to do that in these two weeks.

“One of the key concerns was discipline on the field of play. I want them to understand how to play to each other’s strengths. They were able to pick that up with ease and I’m very happy with that.”

In their match against Ea Lla Koto, however, the 64-year-old coach added that Pirates cannot afford to go into this encounter thinking that it’ll be a walk in the park, mainly because the Bethlehem outfit are yet to register their first win in the league this season.

Stars are 14th on the PSL table with five points from eight league games, while Pirates are in sixth spot with 10 points from seven league matches.

“Of course,” Palacios said. “Otherwise we might live to regret it.

“I’ve watched them against Kaizer Chiefs and they are a quality side. They attack well and keep their opponents at bay in defence. They gave them (Chiefs) a hard time in the Telkom Knockout quarters by doing just that.

“In front of our home fans, we need to be ruthless.”

Palacios said his players will have to work extra hard for their place in the starting line-up, as no one is a guaranteed a spotin his team.

“Competition is healthy, especially if you want your team to thrive,” Palacios said.

“I told them no one will walk into my starting line-up. They will have to earn their place. I want players who can fight to the bitter end.”

FIXTURES

Saturday: Mamelodi Sundowns v Kaizer Chiefs, Chippa United v Cape Town City, Baroka FC v SuperSport United (all 3.30pm); Orlando Pirates v Free State Stars (6pm); Ajax Cape Town v Maritzburg United, Platinum Stars v Bidvest Wits (both 8.15pm)

Sunday: Highlands Park v Golden Arrows, Bloemfontein Celtic v Polokwane City (both 3.30pm)

Saturday Star

Original source: Palacios wants Pirates to be ruthless

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