The Birds head coach Zeca Marques takes a look back at the rollercoaster season, shares his thoughts on Q4 and keeping the squad hungry for the remainder of the campaign.
It's very challenging. We would very much like to go one better this quarter and win it. We were very close in Q3. Our consistency has really improved. Defensively I think we are now well structured and a lot more organised. There's nothing better than finishing the season on a high. We really need to show our resilience and our character after what I thought was a poor period halfway through the season. We managed to turn it around, that is the positive side of things. With limited resources, we're competing with the top teams in the league. The teams above us have a bit more money than us, they invested and bought players and we didn't really so we must be happy that we've got players that take responsibility, they're mature, have shown good character and take their job seriously.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
I keep saying that our strength is our team spirit, our strength lies in how we manage to keep everyone together and focused on what we have to do. In trying moments, the guys have shown tremendous character and leadership. Lefa and the more senior players have been instrumental in keeping everyone together. Obviously we had our bad patch, but that is now forgotten, the guys know what we are capable of doing and our unity is our strength at the moment.
KEEPING EVERYONE HUNGRY
We look at the opposition and player form before we make a decision. We'll try not to change too much as I don't believe in changing a winning formula. The more the players play together, the more confidence they have in each other. That keeps things exciting for the players on the bench and those that even make the bench. I try and be fair, it's not easy because the guys are playing well. Take for instance a guy like Joseph Makhanya, who's been an exceptionally great professional because he tries everyday. We put him on against Wits and he came through with flying colours. They realise that I try and be fair, they realise the moment, they recognise the team's consistency and the good form of their colleagues. As long as we do things the right way from a tactical perspective, we shouldn't have a problem.
WHERE WE WANT TO BE
It's been a roller coaster in that I now realise that we could have been in this position and even better earlier in the season already had we not made the mistakes that we made. We gave away about 18 points in my opinion; we lost five matches that we should have never lost. If we had at least won three of the five matches we would be in a different position than we are right now.Had we also drawn the other two matches, that would be 11 points added to our current total. It's sad that we have to go through these situations, because we know we gave those points away and that is the frustrating part in all of this. It's not that the opposition is better or that everyone outplayed us, but we lost games because of silly individual mistakes and that in my opinion was the saddest moment of this season. I've always said that with a bit of effort and a bit of focus we could win the league here, but you have to also be consistent and professional game after game.