We have the best players – Palacios

2012-05-09 13:08

Orlando Pirates coach Augusto Palacios says no team in the Premiership can match his championship-seeking side in player quality.

“We have the best players here at Pirates,” Palacios said today.

“This club is big. No-one can challenge us in that department. It is an honour and privilege coaching players in the mould of Oupa Manyisa, Moeneeb Josephs and Benni McCarthy.”

The Buccaneers are looking to defend their league crown and secure a successive trophy treble by the end of the season.

Pirates, who top the standings, could land the Premiership crown on Saturday, should they beat Bloemfontein Celtic and their fellow challengers – Moroka Swallows, Mamelodi Sundowns and SuperSport United – draw or lose their respecive matches.

Pirates would become the fourth team to win back-to-back Premiership titles, and the first domestic side to secure a successive treble, emulating coach Ruud Krol’s charges from last year.

They won the MTN8 and Telkom Knockout cup competitions this season.

“Our aim is to give our best in the next two games against Celtic and Golden Arrows, and we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” Palacios said.

“We have to worry about our opponents first. What Swallows, Sundowns and SuperSport do is not our business.

“We are taking it a game at a time. We have not changed from that philosophy.”

For Palacios, it would also be a first league medal in over two decades of coaching.

The former Peruvian international, however, said he would not plan too far ahead. “If it comes it will be a blessing,” he said.

“It would be a good feeling, that’s for sure, but I really don’t want to predict anything.”

Having taken over from Brazilian Julio Leal two months ago, Palacios has warmed to the players, who said they would like him to stay on next season.

“Of course he should stay,” Josephs said.

“If you could see our training sessions now, I can tell you, it has been a while since we enjoyed them.
“He [Palacios] has made us comfortable. He has put in an effort with the team.”

Palacios, the club’s head of youth development, said he was not concerned about his long-term future in the head coach’s role.

Former Germany captain Lothar Matthaus and Dutch legend Ruud Gullit have been linked with the post at the Soweto giants.

“I would not want to comment on the coaching position at this stage,” he said. “That will be for the chairman [Irvin Khoza] to decide at the end of the season.

“I just want to concentrate on where we will finish and focus on the next two games.”

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