Sheffield Steelers must be more physical in the hunt for goals: new coach Paul Thompson

Sheffield Steelers press conference to announce Paul Thompson as the new head coach, alongside owner Tony Smith Picture Dean Atkins
Sheffield Steelers press conference to announce Paul Thompson as the new head coach, alongside owner Tony Smith Picture Dean Atkins
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Paul Thompson wants to see more snarl around the opposition’s net next season as he seeks to tweak and improve a title-winning team.

Sheffield Steelers new manager, who was coaching in Denmark last year, has seen watched 20 videos of the League champions’ games in 2014-15.

The former Coventry Blaze man could not fail to be impressed with the squad, but added: “Do I feel it can be improved? Yes 100%.

“Sheffield had a great team last year, I am not denying it; but we need to get a bit grittier offensively, that is one key area looming to address, but there is not a lot wrong with last year’s team.”

Thompson was officially confirmed as Gerad Adams’ successor on Thursday.

And at a press conference at the Royal Victoria Holiday Inn, he was asked what the main characteristic of his new side would be. He replied: “Togetherness. If your best players are not the hardest workers you are not going to win anything.

“You need players who buy into what the coach and the ownership want. That is the base, you can’t start the walls without the base. We have some good players in

place already I need to add to that. A Paul Thompson team likes to be gritty, likes to play fast and likes to be in shape. But the key is, it has to want to win as a group. Because that is what makes champions” he said.

“We have a lot of quality. The key is I have to improve on that, that is the next stage.

“When you coach the Sheffield Steelers you are coming into an winning organisation that is expected to win.

“(Achieving) back to back championships isn’t easy to do... I am think the only person to do it in the Elite League era” said the 47-year-old ex Great Britain coach.

“I forged my own career with a good apprenticeship back in Solihull, 20-odd fantastic years with the Blaze, great memories, winning memories with teams with lower end budgets, so I am excited about being here. I think I have earned the right to get this opportunity and I am very excited to have it.”

Thompson, while wanting to talk about the future, did briefly refer to the first year he played at Steelers in the 1990s, when Arena crowds bordering on 10,000 were not unusual.

He said: “I want my players to create their own identity, like heroes of the past have.”