Orlando Pirates stand-in coach Fadlu Davids believes back-to-back Soweto Derbies with a fixture in between is good preparation for the squad's tough schedule this season.
Pirates have a full house this season as they contest the MTN8 – with one foot in the final thus far – DStv Premiership, CAF Confederation Cup and Nedbank Cup.
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The Covid-19 pandemic has caused further congestion of fixtures with the calendar reduced to just eight months in total, but playing Kaizer Chiefs twice and Bloemfontein Celtic in the space of a week helps to set the tone for the squad.
The Buccaneers claimed the scalp of Amakhosi in the opening Derby last weekend, and added that of Phunya Sele Sele on Wednesday evening to make it two wins from three thus far.
"If you take our first three matches, in every match there were 3-5 changes – against Cape Town City, then going to AmaZulu and then Stellenbosch," explained Davids of their squad rotation.
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"Ja, a much better performance against Kaizer Chiefs [last Saturday] and now you want to build continuity. You can talk in hindsight what is right or wrong, we know it's three games in one week, and to prioritise.
"Yes, we felt the effects of it in the first half [against Celtic] but that's what we've got to get used to because of our schedule coming up – it's CAF, the league, MTN8 and Nedbank.
"If you want to push your players in terms of conditioning, you have to do it early in the season, knowing that we did not get a full six-week pre-season.
"So we felt it in the first half but the squad we have was able to then turn it around in the second half, with the changes making the impact that we needed."
Bucs will be hoping to continue with the momentum, albeit in head coach Josef Zinnbauer's absence, when they visit Chiefs at FNB Stadium for their semi-final second leg on Sunday (15h00).
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See how the last meeting between Chiefs and Pirates went