Delighted Micho finally sees Orlando Pirates hit top form
Milutin Sredojevic could not suppress his delight after Orlando Pirates finally put on a performance of some precision, even if just for 30 minutes, as they began 2018 with a 3-1 home win over Baroka FC in South Africa's Premier Soccer League.
It catapulted the club up to within five points of leaders Mamelodi Sundowns, giving the Serbian coach added confidence as he now prepares for their next fixture, against the log leaders in Pretoria on Saturday.
This weekend's triumph at the Orlando Stadium was only the fifth win of the league season for Pirates, looking to put behind them a horror 2017 and regain their place up among the South African league's front runners.
"We went into the break disappointed with what we had done in the first half of the season and we came back on the 27th of December and had a good working week," Micho told journalists after the match. "That put the stamp on this win."
Musa Nyatama's opening goal was followed by a quick double from Luvuyo Memela to put Pirates 3-0 up inside the first half hour
"It was our best 30 minutes of the season," the coach added, "but we found it hard to keep our concentration and we were not as adventurous after we had scored those three goals.
"We want to defend by possessing the ball but we gave it away too cheaply and we had to endure a storm from Baroka before we were able to calmly see out the match and finish in a good way.
"The 30 minutes is a role model for the rest of the season but the task for us now is to see can we do that for 60 minutes? Or even keep it up for 90 minutes? We want to play well and get results."
For the first time since Sredejovic's arrival in July, Pirates were clinical in front of goal.
"We have had eight draws in the first half of the season but if you analysis it, we had sitters in six of those matches which we missed and had we scored would have given us the victory," he insisted.
"I have a feeling that someone, somewhere is going to pay for all our misses. But this performance was a first step, a good step in the right direction.
"For a big club like Pirates it should not be normal to get excited about just a league win. This should be normal," he continued. "A draw is a disaster for us and a loss usually a revolution. Winning should be the norm."
It is at last an upward curve for the head coach after what had appeared a period of stagnation.
He always insisted it would take time to turn around the Bucs' ship after their worst season in 30 years had preceded his arrival.
However, there was also some growing dissatisfaction from an expectant fanbase that it might have happened quicker in a season in which all the other fancied sides seem to be slipping up and the league title appears to be there for the taking.
Pirates will have a chance to claw their way even further back into the title race when they take on Sundowns at the weekend.
After that they have a run of very winnable games against strugglers Ajax Cape Town, Platinum Stars, Polokwane City and Maritzburg United.