Kaizer Chiefs coach Giovanni Solinas continued to insist on the quality of his players, asserting he had the best defenders in the Premier Soccer League despite mix-ups that cost them in Saturday's Soweto Derby.
The claim seemed hardly credible after Orlando Pirates exposed Chiefs' defensive frailties in a 2-1 victory in front of some 85,000 at Soccer City in Johannesburg, extending to 10 matches Pirates' unbeaten run in the fixture.
But the Italian, who has been under fire and battled to find consistency since he arrived in June, looked to use the post-match news conference to send a reassuring message to the Chiefs change-room after they let an early lead slip and lost ground on the frontrunners in the league.
"I'm not concerned about the defence. Kaizer Chiefs has the best defenders in South Africa. I wouldn't change my defenders with any of those at the other teams," he defiantly said.
But he had earlier admitted Chiefs' failure to win in four successive games now -- and a tally of just 14 points from 11 games -- was cause for concern.
"I agree that in the last games we haven't collected points and that is not good enough for Kaizer Chiefs.
"But, in my opinion, we have the potential to win several matches in a row. There is no reason we cannot win three, four or five games in a row. This is such a balanced league that if you do that you go right up the table," added Solinas.
"We will continue fighting and trying to put Chiefs in a high position on the log. But the current position is no good for us.
"I believe are able to win three or four games [in a row] and the league is a long way from being over. The season only ends in May," he said, repeating a now almost weekly mantra.
He said players needed to show more character.
"To play for Kaizer Chiefs is not easy. It is a big, big club and you need to stay strong mentally. We need to develop a winning mentality and to learn to manage the pressure."
Pirates, the coach added, had not outplayed his side.
"They didn't dominate us and our second-half performance was okay. But, yes, we must improve, also my coaching needs to improve.
"But we work hard, we are not sleeping. Every day we are working hard to improve and to take Chiefs up into the position Kaizer Chiefs deserves. In the future, I'm sure we'll be there."