London Irish prop Tom Court is calling on his side to pile the pressure on themselves ahead of their return to Aviva Premiership Rugby action this weekend.
After a six-game losing streak in November and December the Exiles seemingly steadied the ship in January with a 28-26 victory over Exeter Chiefs.
Although recent LV= Cup defeats to Scarlets and Newcastle Falcons have not done much in the way of building momentum, Irish will need to be at their best with a daunting trip to Franklin’s Gardens up next on Friday evening.
And while veteran Court insists the side still have a lot to play for in this Aviva Premiership Rugby season, they must quickly forget a frustrating end to 2014 in order to start climbing the table.
“It's been a tough period after that November and December run of form,” said the 34-year-old. “The confidence takes a hit, and that's why the LV= results were disappointing as we wanted to keep the momentum from the win against Exeter Chiefs going.
“It's a completely personal thing but I certainly don't feel like we’re not under any pressure with the situation we’re in.
“On a personal level I try and go out every week and play my very best in my areas, like scrums and mauls and things like that.
“And then in terms of the team we always want to perform as well as possible, and if you go into the game with a mindset that you have nothing to lose, you can end up coming out on the other side of 50 points.
“To some extent that happened in November and I think for us as a team we need to be focused and putting pressure on ourselves, otherwise it's going to be a long end to the season for us.”
It has been a turbulent few weeks in the Exiles camp after head coach Brian Smith left the club on compassionate grounds, before forwards coach Glenn Delaney took the helm.
And despite the fact this period in limbo before the arrival of Tom Coventry in the summer is not ideal, Court is adamant Delaney is the right man for the moment.
“Glenn has been good and really focused on steadying the ship,” he added. “Obviously he knows he's holding the fort until Tom Coventry comes in next year so he's trying to do as good a job as he can with the structures we already have.
“To be honest when I was at Ulster we had coaches coming and going so I feel used to it now.
“Even when you are good mates with the coaches unfortunately it's one of those jobs where they can be there one week and gone the next.
“Sometimes you've just got to suck it up and get on with it, so at the moment it's just about us as a group of players dealing with the situation and trying to get back on that upward curve.”
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