Cold hearts and cool heads, writes James Shield. Hallmarks, David Weir insisted last night, of every triumphant derby team.
The Sheffield United manager tasted the febrile atmosphere of numerous Old Firm, Merseyside and Edinburgh skirmishes during a distinguished playing career.
And so, as they prepare for this afternoon’s League One encounter at Rotherham, his players know they have been equipped with the knowledge required to prevail.
“You’ve got to be clinical and ruthless,” Weir told The Star. “Use the intensity of the occasion to spur you on.
“But then also make sure that you are focused enough to take your chances and opportunities when they come your way.”
Taking chances, by Weir’s own admission, has proven remarkably difficult for United of late.
Lyle Taylor, a summer signing from Falkirk, has yet to open his account since returning to England while fellow centre-forward Chris Porter has seemingly fallen out of favour in recent weeks.
Weir, though, pinpointed new arrivals Florent Cuvelier and Jose Baxter as potential solutions to a problem which has already cost United dear against the likes of Bradford City and MK Dons.
“We’ve been able to bring in two very good players,” Weir said. “Two clever players who have the vision and the technique to really open teams up.
“It’s not always about simply the strikers. We don’t want them to be the only ones we are relying upon all the time.
“The more goals we can score from different positions and different avenues the better. And they are two people who are more than capable of doing exactly that.”
Weir, who predicted winger Jamie Murphy should be declared available for selection despite complaining of muscle stiffness, refuted suggestions that the sight of Prince Abdullah bin Mosaad bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in the crowd at New York Stadium will provide United’s performance with an extra edge.
The Saudi Arabian, who was unveiled as United’s new co-owner on Tuesday, is scheduled to meet the region’s media this morning before travelling to New York Stadium.
“It’s a positive thing for our football club,” Weir said. “Without a shadow of a doubt.
“But, no matter what the situation, you should always be striving to improve anyway. Always giving your maximum and looking to get better at what you do.”