After Orlando Pirates’ struggles at the back for the majority of this season, their defensive woes have suddenly become a thing of the past and former defender, Mark Fish has revealed the secret behind Kjell Jonevret’s changes at the back.
Pirates have conceded just four times in their last six matches in all competitions, which has resulted in four wins in those games, which serves in stark contrast to the previous issues that saw the Buccaneers concede 33 goals in 21 league games prior to their turnaround that began in a 2-1 Nedbank Cup victory over Free State Stars on 8 April.
Click through the images above or see the list below to see Pirates’ defensive record over the past four games.
Fish, who was a stalwart defender at the back for Pirates during his three seasons at the club between 1993 and 1996 has explained what it takes for a defensive line to successfully keep the ball out of the back of their own net.
“When you talk about defence and you start to see that a team is conceding less goals, it starts from the front,” he said. “When you start defending as a team, it makes your job as a defender and as a goalkeeper much easier. It starts from the front and as strikers and midfielders, that’s all part of your job. It’s important to communicate and it’s your job as an individual to assist your teammate in doing his job.”
When assessing the current state of affairs at Mayfair, Fish added that communication was a problem prior to the defensive turnaround and that recently appointed coach, Kjell Jonevret has worked on communication and discipline in the backline, which has proven to be the difference.
“So, obviously, a lack of communication was the problem at Pirates,” he continued. “Now that they’re starting to communicate and talk to each other, they’re fulfilling their potential as a defensive unit. I think that the new coach (Jonevret) has looked into that and made them play with a lot more discipline. We all want to score goals, but, as a defender, even though that’s rich coming from me because I always wanted to score goals, it’s important that you do your job as a defender first.”
Pirates’ defensive record since 8 April:
V Free State Stars (Nedbank Cup) – 1 goal conceded
V Maritzburg United (Absa Premiership) – 0 goals conceded
V Highlands Park (Absa Premiership) – 0 goals conceded
V Bloemfontein Celtic (Nedbank Cup) – 1 goal conceded
V Baroka FC (Absa Premiership) -1 goal conceded
V Chippa United (Absa Premiership) -1 goal conceded