FAB Flournoy has fired his beaten BBL Cup finalists a simple message this week: “Don’t panic”.
Newcastle Eagles are back in action at Sport Central tonightlooking for a rapid response to their 85-80 defeat to Leicester Riders last weekend – a result which saw them surrender the first piece of silverware of the season.
They take on Sheffield Sharks fully aware victories are required to keep pace with the three teams neck and neck with them in the league so far this season – the Riders, Plymouth and Surrey.
Having assessed the mental and physical damage of losing such an important game in the locker room, Flournoy is convinced his players can recover to win the remaining three pieces of silverware.
He said: “We have had a chat with the guys over the last two days and at practice and I think it’s more a case of don’t panic – there’s absolutely no need for us to panic at this stage.
“We came up short last game for various reasons but at the same time we had opportunities to win that game.
“We can’t let it affect us for the rest of the season because we still have an opportunity to win three pieces of silverware.
“The thing I take away from the game is changes we need to make in individual preparation.
“Our team preparation was there but I’m not sure I put the guys in the best position with regards to individual preparation. I’m not sure I got that right.
“Our intensity levels should have been greater than they were and that’s down to me.
“That was probably as much to do with the fact we hadn’t played since December 27, but it was still something we should have done differently.
“I think you saw that on Sunday, we were still trying to feel our way into the game in the third quarter but we were already well behind.
“We were down before we realised we were in a game and that is the most disappointing thing because that has happened twice against that particular team.”
Flournoy expects a major response from his team when Atiba Lyons’ Sharks roll into town tonight – but he doesn’t want it to end there.
He says they must channel their Cup disappointment and use it to power them for the rest of the season.
That job begins against a South Yorkshire side you would expect to have a say in the destination of silverware at some point this year. Lyons’ team have been consistently inconsistent this season, but have won their last three games and have shown signs that they are getting their eye in.
The Sharks usually perform well in the North East, which adds further danger to their visit.
“There is blood in the water,” Flournoy added in reference to the bruising defeat in Birmingham.
“We have a target on our back against whoever we play.
“Every team we play in every game we play is going to have a point to prove and we have to learn how to handle that.
“This will be our response game and I expect us to respond very well, but that is not enough – every game needs to be our response game from now on.
“We are down on the canvas. We took a right hook, now it is up to us to get off the canvas and throw a few of our own.”