Gabriele Cioffi believes last Saturday’s win over Yeovil can fire Reds up for their remaining games of the season.
The 1-0 win opened up a nine-point gap ahead above the bottom two with four matches to go, starting against Exeter City at St James’ Park on Good Friday, kick off 1pm.
And the Head Coach is pushing for a strong finish to the season before the hard work preparing for next season can get underway.
Referring to last Saturday’s game, Gaby said: “There was massive pressure on myself – which is fair enough – and the boys. But we put in a good performance and finally matched it with the result. We were clinical when we had our chance.
“Now we need to finish a tough season with our heads up. The challenge for the lads is to finish with 12 points. It is possible – I believe in the boys and after last Saturday’s performance I know they will approach the final games with a lot of confidence.”
The Head Coach is particularly pleased with the way his young players have adapted to the rigours of a long season in recent weeks.
“In my opinion we have a capable group of young players,” he added. “But sometimes they will have flat performances. We have six or seven, many of whom have come from non-league football. They have to match what I want in terms of how they train and their mentality but in the last few weeks I think I have seen this from them more consistently.
“This has helped us in the last few games and will help us for the remaining four matches also, but of course when next season comes then we will see the benefit as they have that experience and know what to expect in a long season.”
Exeter will be a difficult test on Friday. Matt Taylor’s side are seventh and on course for a second successive play-off appearance.
Gaby added: “This will be a tough challenge as they play good football, but we are going to create as many problems as we can.
“The most important thing is that I’m sure we are going to step onto the pitch tomorrow with the right mentality.”