Play-offs? Just relax and go for the glory
NOTHING WORSE THAN DEFEAT IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN BRAVE
The Football League playoffs began on Thursday as Burton beat Bradford Northampton beat Cheltenham. Every fan wears their heart on their sleeve and gives it their all to push and drag their team to victory. But what of the manager? What is it like to stand in a dugout and lead a playoff campaign?
More so than ever, there is an overwhelming sense of responsibility on your shoulders.You know that you have to do all you can to help the club to win. No stone can go unturned. Everybody is under extra pressure; the chairman is at the heart of all the media and commercial planning and he and the commercial people are inundated.
So you have to be understanding. And, in the midst of all the extra demand for media and commercial time, you have to maintain your focus on the football job. There is a lot you have to get right.
At my best in the play-offs, I was able to treat things seriously but relax and smile as well.You cannot take yourself too seriously or develop too strong a sense of self importance. If you lose, you are soon forgotten. If you win, you are soon forgotten too! So don’t get too carried away with it all.
In the game, it pays to remember that you have to dare to win. You get nothing for nothing and you have to adventure. There is nothing worse than defeat when you haven’t been brave and gone for it. Play-offs are there to be won. Have no regrets I say.
Bold selection, bold substitutions, bold tactics. Stand in that dugout prepared to attack, ready to win.
Brentford lost automatic promotion when a last minute penalty hit the bar. Those are the margins. To get them in your favour in the playoffs, you have to get a lot of detail right over two or three weeks.You need to know who takes what kind of penalty.You need to know their keeper’s weaknesses.
I can remember playing-off in the Conference knowing that the prize for Stevenage was a life changing place in the Football League.You don’t want to get it wrong.
Promotion has to be won. Even in the play-offs. To win it, you have to let loose, go for it, fear nothing and relish the opportunity.
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