Former South Africa captain Steven Pienaar has advised Brighton & Hove Albion forward Percy Tau to focus on his football and help his team avoid Premier League relegation.
Tau made his English top-flight bow against Manchester City on Wednesday as Graham Potter’s side suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Etihad Stadium.
The loss left Brighton 17th on the league table, just two points adrift of the relegation zone, and they are now winless in their last nine league outings.
Pienaar, who played for Everton and Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League during his active days, expressed his excitement with Tau’s latest feat in England, and he hoped the Bafana Bafana star will inspire the Seagulls to retain their top-flight status this campaign.
“I’m proud that we’ve got another South African in the Premier League in Percy Tau, making his debut against Manchester City,” Pienaar told Soccer Laduma.
“I think he had quite a good game for his first appearance, he stood his ground and I hope he continues in that way.
“He is the first South African to play in the league after me and I am personally quite excited to see him. I think he’s got the talent, the passion, the work ethic to do well in the Premier League, but I think he must be given more time to adapt, of course, the unwanted pressure might get to him.
“Brighton are playing some good football, but they aren’t getting the wins, and the pressure mounts when you are at the wrong end of the table. I hope he can help the team stay up, that will only build on his confidence and his legacy at the club, and people will take notice of him.”
Tau was recalled from his loan spell at Anderlecht last week having previously spent the last two-and-a-half years on loan in Belgium due to work permit issues in England.
Prior to his return, the ex-Mamelodi Sundowns star scored four goals in the First Division A for Vincent Kompany's team this season but Pienaar believes that he will need time to settle well in England.
He added: “But it is also a long season and Percy did not have a lot of rest during his first two years in Europe, and the Premier League is a much tougher league, so people need to be patient with him. I know they are all excited to see another South African in one of the biggest leagues in the world, so it's understandable why people will enjoy this moment.
“But my advice to Percy is to focus on his football and try and stay away from things like social media. If he can help the team stay up, he will build his name, but other than that, I am really proud of him.”
Next up for Tau and Brighton & Hove Albion is a Premier League trip to Leeds United on Saturday.