Manager looks ahead to the visit of OxfordWith Oxford United arriving at St James Park on Saturday, Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale admitted that the game took on an extra air of importance.
In these early days of the season, the two teams are both winless in League 2 and currently occupy the drop-zone positions.
Following the home defeat to Mansfield Town last weekend, Paul was particularly blunt about the below-par performance of his side in the first period in particular.
And he feels that this weekend’s game against the U’s will be a chance for the City players to give their all and show what they are made of.
“It is a standard reply from me that the next game is the most important,” said Paul. “But the fact that we haven’t won a game this year yet and the fact that we’re playing that hasn’t won a game either makes it feel that more important.
“It’s a very big game and three points that we both desperately need and want. We’re certainly not going to give it anything less than our best.
“I’m hoping that our best will be better than it was last week in the first half against Mansfield. We’ve got plenty to prove.”
The Yellows came back from a goal down to earn a point at Roots Hall last weekend. Trailing to Jack Payne’s goal, a revitalised performance after half-time paved the way to Danny Hylton netting a penalty and securing a 1-1 draw.
It was only Oxford’s second point of the campaign and Paul knows that there will be an element of unpredictability in the visitors as they still aim to get a first win under their belt.
“They need the points and Michael will work out the best way he feels that he can get the best out of his team,” Paul continued.
“As a manager you pick your tone, you pick your tactics and you pick your team – and you try to fuel it with motivation and some details in and around some of the play, and you hope that makes the big difference.
“Neither of us will be settled and neither of us will have settled on our best team yet, because how can we have done with only two draws out of six? We are both going to be searching around for some better performances.”
He also explained that the character of his players could influence team selection on Saturday.
With a fully-fit squad – Jamie Reid’s long-term injury excepted – Tis will be looking towards players that can step up to the mark in this particularly important fixture.
“Every player is worth talking to and assessing for not just their physical and technical play, but also for their emotions, anxieties or confidence build into a performance,” said the manager.
“It’s relevant every week. It is relevant more this week? Well yes, because it is a different type of challenge and being under a bit of pressure requires a certain type of emotion and ability to play under that pressure.
“All of those types of things go into the melting pot when you make selections like any week, and in particular this week it is relevant.”