Harrogate Town manager Simon Weaver insists that there is no pressure on his players to deliver anything other than a good performance when they entertain Stockport County on Saturday (3pm).
The men from Wetherby Road head into the match on the back of three successive National League defeats and in need of a positive result, yet Weaver is refusing to get too downbeat about his side’s poor start to 2019/20.
“Of course we’d love to bounce straight back with a win, that would be the perfect tonic after three losses, but beating Stockport isn’t the be all and end all,” he said.
“We’ve trained with real intensity this week, but the focus hasn’t all been on winning on Saturday. There’s no huge pressure at this stage of the season, what is important is that we play the right way.
“What I want to see is the lads come out fighting, getting on the ball, being brave and doing the right things.
“Stockport have some good players and a good manager, we know it’s going to be a difficult game because they all are in this league, but the most important thing is that we get a performance.
"We've drawn a line under the previous game. It's still really early days and we are still trying to integrate the new faces. These lads haven't turned into bad players over night, we just need to get back to playing our way, stick our chances away and cut out the mistakes."
Weaver apologised to Town’s supporters in the wake of Saturday’s loss to Dagenham & Redbridge and also told his players that they needed to "man up", but has subsequently rejected any suggestions that his team threw in the towel during the second half of the match.
“You’re emotionally charged straight after the game and you get a microphone put in front of your face and that emotion can come across in the interview,” he added.
“Having had the chance to take stock and reflect properly, I think that in the last three games we’ve only had one bad half an hour – against Dagenham. We were superb at Woking and I was proud of the performance against Notts County with 10 men.
“Heads definitely went down on Saturday. The lads were disappointed with themselves because they found themselves losing a game that they should have been winning. It wasn’t that they weren’t bothered or had given up.
“They certainly are bothered. Everyone here cares about the results, we have a group full of good characters.
"I think that some of them certainly looked exasperated and that can probably be misconstrued. What I've told them is that they have to realise that they're on stage when they're out there and people can see how they react, so they can't show that disappointment.
"It's not a case of not caring, far from it. These lads beat themselves up over bad results. They weren't throwing in the towel, but we do need to learn to react better when things go against us."
Stockport are expected to bring a big following to the CNG Stadium on Saturday and, with this in mind, Weaver says that Town's own fans will have a big part to play in helping his team get back on track.
"Stockport are a big, ex-Football League club and we know they'll bring good numbers, so it's another chance to play in front of a really big crowd and a great atmosphere," he added.
"What I hope is that we get a big turn-out of our fans, like we did in the games against York City and Hartlepool over the last couple of seasons, and they get right behind us. We need them and their passion.
"We want to bounce back after three defeats. We need the supporters behind the team so they can go out and play with confidence, rather than being fearful of a backlash.
"I'm sure the fans will turn out and help us get back to our best."