Sheffield Steelers entering must-win territory in order to stay in Elite League title race
Just a week on from their shock Challenge Cup semi-final defeat at the hands of Fife Flyers, the Steelers were dealt another blow to their hopes of silverware for the 2022-23 campaign when they suffered a 3-1 league defeat on the road at Manchester Storm.
Phillips, who made his 1,000th Elite League appearance for the Steelers during the game, said responsibility fell on the players to put things right as quickly as possible, starting in this weekend’s double-header against Coventry Blaze, the first meeting taking place in South Yorkshire tonight (face-off 7pm).
“We’ve got to take responsibility ourselves and say that this ain’t the time of the season where we can let that happen,” said Phillips, who on Thursday announced he would be retiring from playing at the end of this season.
“We know what part of the year it is and we know that going into Manchester is always hard, but it is in situations like that where we’ve really got to bare down and make sure that the two points are coming home with us.”
On whether the forthcoming encounters against fifth-placed Blaze were ‘must-win’ games, Phillips added: “Yeah, definitely. To be honest I think we’ve kind of looked at things like that since Christmas onwards - even though there have been times when we’ve not really played like that.
“You see Belfast, Guildford and Cardiff all keep winning games, so we can’t fall away from that pack.
“The good thing is we play Cardiff, Belfast and Guildford in this run-in but we have to take care of all these other games to make sure those games still actually matter.”
Fox is waiting on the fitness on several players following a bout of flu that has run through the team, forwards Martin Latal and Robert Dowd both missing the clash against Storm.