Kaizer Chiefs interim coach Cavin Johnson says that even though his team lost Saturday’s Soweto derby against Orlando Pirates 1-0, he was still surprised with the level of their performance. 

The win for Pirates saw them move past Chiefs on the league table and up into seventh spot, while Chiefs, who have played two more game, are one point and two positions behind Pirates in ninth.

It was a first half goal from Evidence Makgopa that separated the teams, but the reality was that Pirates had the better chances and deserved to win. Chiefs only two efforts on target came from the head of Edson Castillo.

Speaking after the game Johnson said: “The team played a lot better than I expected.

“There were moments where I thought if Chiefs had the calmness that I think comes with the brand of Kaizer Chiefs in the last third, maybe we could have ended up with a draw or win.

“We go into the FIFA break and probably have to do a lot of work on our players. If you play for Chiefs, it is a mental game,” said Johnson.

“At Chiefs they employ you for your technical quality, but you have to be mentally at another level.

“And we have to get the players to that level whereby in some moments, when we have an opportunity to get a goal, we do it correctly.”

Asked why he had chosen to start with Zitha Kwinika at right back ahead of Reeve Frosler, Johnson said: “It was just tactics. In some seconds we knew that Deon Hotto would come and when the game went on, Hotto didn’t come.

“I think if you look at the first half and the second half Hotto’s impact became very little with Zitha on the pitch.

“We put Frosler back in so that we could get something more up front, I think by then it was a little bit too late. But when Hotto and Zitha were on the field, Hotto didn’t go forward as much as he does with other teams,” he explained.