IT was long after the last Blues fan had trudged dejectedly out of the Tameside Stadium that Neil Young emerged from the heated dressing room inquest that followed the dispiriting loss to Curzon Ashton.
But when he made his way his up to the stands to deliver his verdict on why Chester had blown the chance to open up a commanding lead over Skelmersdale United, it was not an angry Young who faced the waiting media.
Instead, he calmly spelled out how he plans to ensure his jittery team will hold its nerve in what is an intense two-horse race for the title.
“I’ll be picking players I know can deal mentally with the situation because, believe me, that’s the most important thing now,” said the Blues boss, who is planning changes for the trip to Radcliffe Borough on Saturday (3pm).
“This is all about the players who have got the courage to take a game by the scruff of its neck and see this out. We can’t afford any passengers.
“I may get vilified for it, but I’ll be going with big, strong experienced players for the final four games of the season.”
Young has in recent weeks come under pressure from some supporters to return young talent like Chris Williams and Bradley Barnes to his starting line-up.
Young obliged – and with some success – in Saturday’s derby against a poor Cammell Laird side, but he was left to regret not going with the gut instinct that implored him to change a winning team for the Curzon clash on Monday.
“Expectation weighs very heavy,” said Young, who led Colwyn Bay to promotion last season.
“It’s weighing heavy on my shoulders and I’ve been here before, so just imagine what it’s like for the lads who have not been in this situation before.
“I have to pick the players who I believe are mentally prepared for the task ahead.
“They may not particularly be the best players technically, but when you’re in this situation it’s not just about football ability, it’s about the whole package.
“As a manager and a man manager – which I think I’m good at – I have to pick the people I believe I can handle the situation and that’s why, against Curzon, I was critical of myself because I don’t think I picked the right players.”