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"It is down to me and my coaching team to give them clarity of focus"

Paul Tisdale talks about the players mindset ahead of Monday's Sky Bet League Two play-off final

24 May 2018

Exeter City manager Paul Tisdale says he will be aiming to give his players clarity of focus as they head into their second Sky Bet League Two play-off final in as many seasons.

The Grecians booked their place in the final against Coventry City this campaign with a 3-1 victory over Lincoln City in the semi-final.

It was a high-pressure game at St James Park, like it will be at Wembley Stadium on bank holiday Monday, but the Grecians came through the challenge with goals from Jayden Stockley, Hiram Boateng and Ryan Harley. So was Tis pleased with how his side handled the high profile nature of that match going into another big game?  

“Yes, but every game is different,” he said. “It is down to me and my coaching team to give them clarity of focus on what they need to concentrate on during the game on Monday. 

“The thing is you cannot guarantee anything. You can get everything right. We might play our very best and the opponent might just be better than us or we might get a bad decision. 

“We have just got to be satisfied that we have done our best and we have covered as many of the grey areas that we can. I think we face a very difficult opponent in Coventry. You can see that in how they played in their second leg against Notts County. Yes, we played well but they did too.” 

Indeed, they did. Coventry, who finished sixth in the League Two table, blew away Notts County 4-1 in their second leg at Meadow Lane with goals from Max Biamou (2), Marc McNulty and Tom Bayliss to give them a 5-2 victory on aggregate. 

“They were extremely good,” said Tis. “They got fortunate on one or two decisions but I think they deserved their win. There is no doubt about that. 

“They looked a really good side. We played them in January and they looked like they have really developed and progressed since then. 

“There is enough in there for us to be concerned about and that is all part of our balance of our motivation going into the game.” 

Coventry also, like City, have recent Wembley experience having played in last year’s Checkatrade.com Trophy final. However, what can Tis and his players draw on from last season’s play-off final defeat to Blackpool? 

“The experience of it,” he said. “The experience of the build-up, the logistics, the preparations and the experience of how it felt at the end when we lost. 

“Don’t forget we have been there before. We have been there before at Exeter in the Conference days twice, winning and losing, so I think I have got the full spectrum of emotions.

“So we will take as much of that as we can in our management room and in our preparations but ultimately the key is when the players play they are not thinking about any of those things they are just thinking about controlling the ball, heading the ball, tackling their opponent and beating their opposite number in the next four or five seconds. 

“That is what it will boil down to. It is a lot of preparation, a lot of thinking, a lot of strategy but then getting to a point with the players of ‘just play’ and asking them to play their best. That is what we want to get the team to do, play their best.” 

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