Milutin Sredojevic calls for swift resurgence from Orlando Pirates' Nedbank Cup exit

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Pirates suffered a shock first-round exit from South Africa's equivalent of the FA Cup after going down to Black Leopards via penalties at the Thohoyandou Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Buccaneers endured the same fate in their respective Telkom Knockout final and MTN8 quarterfinal defeats to Baroka and SuperSport United earlier this season – crumbling in a shootout.

Sredojevic has since defended his troops’ misfortune – refusing to blame any individuals, while maintaining that they still have the domestic and continental championship to fight for this season.

“Penalties are a lottery, we cannot look at that. We do not look at individuals. We are a team, including the technical staff, and we are all disappointed,” ‘Micho’ said.

“We had the highest ambitions in this competition, it’s a huge frustration [to be knocked out in the first round] but in life it’s all about how you pick yourself up and respond to being knocked down with disappointment.

“We now go back to the drawing board, focusing on the CAF Champions League and the Absa Premiership, and we look forward to recovering and bouncing back strongly.”

The Serbian further spurned suggestions that their cup exit comes as a blessing in disguise as it allows them to concentrate fully on the two-remaining competitions, which are arguably of higher value. 

“Of course, it’s not a relief. In every competition we have the highest ambition. We are very disappointed [because] we were thinking of going equally in all three competitions

“However, it was not meant to be. We believe we were deserving of victory in regulation time, but the penalty shootout is a lottery.

“But we have to look forward. We have two competitions to focus on and we have to refocus our energy and concentration so that we can finish the season in the best possible way.”

Pirates' next task is at home to Tunisian outfit and defending Champions League champions Esperance on February 2.