Mamelodi Sundowns left-back Lyle Lakay says it is imperative for the team to remain focused as the race for the 2020/21 Premier Soccer League (PSL) title resumes.
Sundowns are set to welcome Orlando Pirates in an eagerly-awaited blockbuster at Loftus Stadium on Saturday afternoon in what will be the first PSL match in 2021.
Masandawana have had a fine start to their PSL title defence as they are placed at the top of the league standings - undefeated having recorded five wins and three draws.
Lakay, who has been preferred ahead of Tebogo Langerman in the left-back position, said they are determined to retain the league trophy as they prepare for one of their title rivals, Pirates.
“We have started the league on a good note. Now, we shouldn’t lose focus,” Lakay told Daily Sun.
“It might still be too early, but I can’t hide the fact that we’re focusing on retaining the league title.”
Lakay and his teammates will be up against a Pirates side which is undefeated across all competitions this season and they are currently enjoying a three-match winning run.
Pirates are placed fifth on the league standings five points behind leaders, Sundowns, but the former have a game in hand.
Sundowns free-kick specialist Lakay admitted that they are under pressure heading into their mouthwatering encounter with Bucs, who were crowned 2020 MTN8 champions last month.
“There is always pressure to bear but the more you win games," the former SuperSport United academy player added, "The more you gain confidence. That eases the pressure in some way."
The Cape Town-born player could not travel to his hometown after Sundowns' 2-0 win over Botswana side Jwaneng Galaxy in the Caf Champions League first-round first-leg match on December 22.
Instead, Lakay spent the festive break with his wife and sister in Johannesburg amidst the curfew which has been imposed by South Africa president Cyril Ramaphosa in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
“The family down in the Cape understands the situation we find ourselves in. It's quite scary when you look at the number of people who are dying," he concluded.
In 2019, Lakay spent his Christmas far away in North Africa as Sundowns travelled to Algeria for a Caf Champions League match against USM Alger.