Cape Town - Orlando Pirates coach Milutin Sredojevic believes his players felt extreme fatigue towards the end of Saturday's 2-1 win over Free State Stars.
The match was the third in a week for the Sea Robbers during which time they collected wins against Bidvest Wits, Black Leopards as well as Stars.
The nine points have come as a massive boost to Bucs as they lead Mamelodi Sundowns by six points at the top of the Premiership standings.
However, Sundowns do have three games in hand though the toll of their CAF Champions League quarterfinal victory over Al Ahly could also be decisive in the final reckoning.
'Micho' told reporters: "In the first half we looked to penetrate the opponent with a patient build-up and finding the solutions, however, it was not meant to be.
"At half-time, we agreed to push our full-back higher and this paid us back.
"We need to give credit to Innocent Maela and Mthokozisi Dube, with quickfire we got exactly what we wanted, two quick goals, and I believe we scored a third, but it was disallowed, I don't understand why, but now we cannot talk about that.
"We're happy with the three points, with plenty to criticise, but we also need to remember that this was our third match in seven days.
"The state of the field, being very slippery and muddy in some places, did not favour us because we're a team that uses the ball.
"Due to over-usage of the ball, this field invisibly, when you pass the ball so much, sucks energy from your muscles and, as such, I would say we paid the expensive bill of a third match in seven days.
"In the last 15 minutes, I'll admit we were not really ourselves, especially with the 2-0 scoreline being the most dangerous in football, but credit to the players for standing firm until the end to win the match at all costs."
Bucs now have a well-earned break until the 24th of April when they are set to face Maritzburg United at the Harry Gwala Stadium in Pietermaritzburg. This is due to the Nedbank Cup semi-finals this weekend.