Winless run has helped Dean Saunders learn about his Chesterfield squad

Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson
Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson

Dean Saunders said he had learned more about his Chesterfield squad during a winless September than he did in the first month, when they had made a storming start under his charge.

He is now urging them to develop a winning mindset ahead of Saturday’s game at bottom club Crewe Alexandra.

“I have learned more about my players now than if you are nicking games and sweeping things under the carpet,” he said.

“At least it forces you to look at our weaknesses without analysing it too far.

“If the referee gave a penalty to Jay O’Shea on Tuesday, we win 2-1 and I think we’d be fifth or sixth in the league. You come into training happy and you don’t look into things so deeply.

“Defeats hurt and they make you sit up all night and you end up watching the DVDs again. But you can look too far.

“There is not a lot wrong with us I believe. It’s a new team and it’s no different to any club I’ve been at.

“Even when we won the league at Doncaster we had blips. We had spells where we didn’t look like scoring. It happens. It’s happening to Chelsea isn’t it?

“I heard someone on the radio the other saying that Jose Mourinho hasn’t got a clue how to put it right. So if he’s in trouble we are all in trouble.”

Saunders said he had been lucky in career to play alongside players who had winning mindsets and were effective in nullifying their opposition as well as shining themselves.

“It’s about having a winning mindset,” he said. “I’ve been fortunate in my career as I’ve played at a lot of good clubs who were trying to win things and I’ve played with a lot of players who have won lots of trophies.

“They had got that streak in them. It’s pride over people they are playing against – thinking ‘there is no way you are getting the better of me today’ – that’s how they went out on the pitch.

“They didn’t go out there thinking ‘I am going to show you today what I can do with the ball, and when we haven’t got the ball I don’t think I’ll bother or if you score I don’t mind’.

“The players I have played with and the teams I have had that have won anything, you’ve got to have players on the pitch who can actually stop the opposition doing well as well.

“That’s the first thought you should have in you head when you run out onto the pitch - ‘I’m going to be difficult to play against today’, not ‘I am going to get the ball and spray it all over the pitch and show everybody how good I am’.

“How about stopping the people you are playing against playing well and working from there?

“So maybe we have got to have a bit more of that in our mindset.

“In individual battles all over the pitch, you’ve got to make sure your man shakes your hand at the end of the game and he hasn’t done much. You’ve got a chance if seven or eight of them have done that.”