Daniel Stendel believes Hearts’ crunch Ladbrokes Premiership clash with St Mirren in Paisley on Wednesday night will be decided by who best handles the pressure.
The Gorgie side – unbeaten in four games in all competitions – sit bottom of the table, three points behind the Saints with both sides having nine games remaining.
Hamilton and Ross County are one and three points further up the table respectively but have played a game more.
Ahead of the rearranged midweek fixture, Hearts boss Stendel, who took over from Craig Levein in December, said: “The pressure is a big point in this game, in who can handle it better, St Mirren or us.
“Can we handle it? Why not? The pressure in the last week was high and in the next week it will also be high, and against St Mirren.
“It’s a big game for both teams. When we played like we did in our last games and especially our defensive display, I think we will get the chance to win this game.
“I feel that after the last week we are in a good situation. We have stabilised in the last few weeks but we need to go forward.
“With a victory we can bring us closer together with Hamilton, Ross County and St Mirren, and St Mirren know if they win the game they can take the gap over us to six points.
“When you want to win you need to score but when you concede one, two, three goals then you need to score four goals and that is not too easy.
“We need to be patient but we need to have the confidence to say, ‘OK we have the quality to score in every game we play but we need to defend better’. What we have done in the last few games is good and I want to keep this.”
Stendel senses the Tynecastle club are becoming a tighter unit as they approach the run-in.
The former Barnsley boss said: “My feeling is that all at the club are closer together than before.
“The situation is maybe new for Hearts but not new for other bigger clubs in every league.
“We think we have better players with more quality, more ambitions but you need to understand this is the reality and you need to find the right solution for this, not to live in the past.
“Only when you win the games and climb the table then can you say, ‘I am better’.”
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.