Exeter Chiefs coach Ricky Pellow will tell his players to forget the pressures of winning Pool One, when they take on Northampton Saints in the LV= Cup this weekend.
Pellow’s men must beat Saints at Sandy Park tomorrow and hope group leaders Harlequins are defeated at Ospreys on Sunday.
The four-point gap between the sides opened up when the Chiefs lost to Bath at the Recreation Ground last weekend.
Pellow said that result, but not the performance, must be forgotten when they take to the field tomorrow.
He said: “We have talked about the key things that will give us a good performance and if we can put together the things we did against Bath, and finish one or two of the chances we created, it will stand us in good stead.
“Obviously, it would have been great for the club to have got our first win against Bath but we came away a little bit frustrated. We created so many chances but didn’t take them.
“This weekend we just have to think about ourselves and how we’re going to perform. If we get a result, that will put pressure on Harlequins on Sunday.
“They have to go to Ospreys and that is a difficult place to go. It would have been nice if winning the group was still in our hands but it isn’t, so we will look to put in a performance that will push us on.”
Like Chiefs, Saints are expected to field an alternate line-up this weekend. That should make the game no less of a spectacle, according to Pellow. Indeed, some the players will be playing for their futures.
“Northampton coming down here is a challenge in itself, whether it is the Premiership, A League or the LV= Cup,” he said.
“The guys that are coming into the squad this weekend have been looking to get some game time.
“They are professional guys who have trained well all season. It might be the last game for some of them at the club but they will wear the shirt with pride.
“Any game in which you put on an Exeter shirt is one you want to play well in and put in a performance. It is an opportunity for this group of players to put in a performance for themselves, individually and for the club.
“There is pressure in any sport you play in but I think the guys will thrive on it.
“Come Saturday, when we go out and play Northampton here, there will be a hell of a crowd and a great day.
“They are a strong side, whatever team they come down with – whether they go full strength or mix it up a little bit – it will be a strong side. We have talked about it, we know what we have to do.
“We want to focus on ourselves and we will get struck into them.”
And Pellow says the preparation and analysis of the opposition before the game is just the same as any Aviva Premiership game.
He said: “When you analyse sides, they tend to show the same structure despite having different personnel. We know how they are going to play and the patterns they use, just like they will with us. We have a clear picture of how they will come down here.”