Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says his players have to focus on their own matches and concentrate on the next ball and the next tackle as they head into a crunch weekend in their League Two season.
The Grecians sit in sixth-place, occupying the second-to-late play-off berth with three games to go. However, the table is so tight – with only six points separating Luton Town in fourth and Wycombe Wanderers in 13th – that anything other than a victory at home to Morecambe on Saturday could see the Grecians fall out of the play-off places.
Tis says that they can’t worry about that too much though.
“I think the key to this is to try and put that out of your mind and try and concentrate on our own games and the fact that we have nine points at stake,” said Tis.
“It is in our hands and we must aim to try and win all three games. It is a mistake, maybe, we can fall into – worrying about everyone else. We need to concentrate on our own game and try and pick up nine points.”
With lots to play for the City players could be forgiven for feeling slightly anxious going into the match, but Tis wants them to enjoy the experience and not to focus on the bigger picture too much.
“You have just got to focus on what is coming next and look at the bigger picture too much,” he said. “You have got to look at the next minute – play the next ball and play the next tackle.
“You have to play in that vein, I don’t think we can stand back and view the overall picture too often. Players have got to compete and commit to what is coming next.
“That is probably the best way to go ahead in these games.”
Tis also added that the supporters have a huge part to play on Saturday. He was impressed with the noise they made during the last home game – which ended with the Grecians beating Barnet 2-1 on Good Friday - and wants more of the same this weekend.
“Anything that is positive and that encourages the team forward is what we want to hear,” he said. “I’ll ask the supporters to stay away from anxiety themselves, stay away from comment on the other team and just concentrate on the Exeter players and give them as much encouragement as you can.
“And keep the atmosphere. St James Park is a better place where there is a drum beat, where there is noise, where there is clapping, where there is rhythm behind the supporters and environment they set. The players respond to it. We need that.
“It is not to say, we can only play like that, but it helps and let’s to everything we can to help the team get the points they need at the moment.”
Speaking about the Barnet atmosphere, and the players’ reaction to it, Tis added: “They like the drumming, they like the noise and they like that constant rhythm to the game.
“It, probably, drowns out the one or two who are a bit nervous and a bit anxious. So, that is certainly the best atmosphere for us to play in.
“When it goes quiet you can hear the odd exasperation or frustration or nervousness from some of the supporters, but when you get the drumming going and when you get the noise from the Big Bank it pushes the players along. It creates a rhythm and we are certainly at our best when there is that atmosphere in the ground.”