The key, says Rotherham midfielder Jamie Lindsay, is not to over-think it.
On Monday his team suffered a real punch in the guts from bottom-of-the-table Wycombe Wanderers, who unexpectedly won 3-0 at the New York Stadium. If anything, Huddersfield perhaps topped it the next day.
The Terriers were always expected to lose to champions-elect Norwich City, on loan from the Premier League, but to be 5-0 down at half-time? To lose 7-0? That was a huge blow to morale.
The league table has the Terriers seven points above the relegation zone but it is slightly deceptive because the Millers have three games in hand on them, four on some of the other teams above. They will begin making up ground in midweek when they play Queens Park Rangers (Tuesday) and Coventry City (Thursday), followed by Birmingham City (Sunday) – all three at home – so both teams need to put their disappointment behind them pretty quickly.
“I’ve been in this position before in Scotland when I was on loan at Ross County,” says former Celtic midfielder Lindsay. “We actually got relegated.
“One thing I gained from that situation is I kind of worried about it, I don’t know why.
“You’re desperate not to get relegated and probably put too much pressure on yourself so I’ve probably learned now you cannot worry about it, you just need to attack it in the best possible way.
“What’s going to happen is going to happen, there’s no point going into any game thinking, ‘If this happens...’
“Everybody just needs to be positive and training’s been really good, everybody’s positive and just looking forward.”
Rotherham need a run of results to get them and the teams around them believing they can stay in the Championship after their last two second-tier campaigns ended in relegation. For all the physical demands on them, so many games clustered together at least offers that.
Lindsay is taking heart from four wins and a draw in the first six league matches of 2021.
“It’s scary,” he reflects. “One minute you’re the worst team in the world and the next minute you get a win, you get a bit of momentum, and you never know what happens.
“In January we had a bad result (against Barnsley, from the last game of 2020) and we got a win and it kind of kept us on. Anything’s possible with the squad we’ve got. We’ve shown this season we can do it, we just need to be positive, go into the game with confidence and put in a performance that allows us to get the right result.”
Lindsay is hoping Monday’s result proves a “kick up the backside” for the Millers, but Huddersfield will be looking at their defeat on Tuesday in the same optimistic light.
“If you get beaten 3-0 off anyone it’s a sore one to take but where we both were in the table, we knew how big a game it was so for us to put on the performance we did, the players feel like we’ve let people down,” he says. “We don’t want to be the group of players remembered for that.
“It’s done now, we’ve looked into it and no matter what you say about the game now you cannot change it.
“We just need to look forward to Saturday and hopefully put in the performance we should have on Monday.
“Everybody was down about it and rightly so but if you keep thinking about it and worrying about it, nothing’s going to change. Maybe it’s the wee kick up the backside we needed. We need to fight now for the last 10 games and hopefully put it right.”
Having only returned from eight weeks out injured at Easter, Lindsay says he is fresher than most and looking forward to a schedule which will squeezes the run-in between now and May 8.
“As a player you want to play big games,” he argues. “I’m looking forward to it.
“There’s only four weeks left of the season so we need to get our heads down and hopefully finish on a high.
“You feel tired on a Thursday and then you get to a game and you don’t feel it. It’s just probably adrenaline, knowing what’s at stake and wanting to do well. Tiredness can be in your head as well. You need to be positive.
“It’s a crazy schedule but that’s why we’ve got the squad we’ve got. Everybody needs to play their part from now until the end of the season and help each other out.
“People probably think I’m mad but as a player you want to play.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Tuesday-Thursday (schedule) even at boys club (level) but we’ve got a big squad and we need to look at it as our chance to put down a marker. If we have a good week it can change everything.
“A week in football is mad but with four games it can be really mad so we need to really give it a right good go.”
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