Sheffield Steelers: Punishing day ahead

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It’s back to the drawing board at Sheffield Steelers today - and it promises to be a painful learning curve for the skaters.

Sunday’s 4-1 capitulation to Nottingham Panthers exposed fitness issues, mental errors and tactical naivety. Doug Christiansen - in an interview on - aims to put some of that right in practice today.

Tim Spencer fights Brent Henley Panthers 8/9/13

Tim Spencer fights Brent Henley Panthers 8/9/13

He pronounced himself “extremely disappointed” in the scale and manner of last Sunday’s Challenge Cup defeat. Only goaltender Frank Doyle and the Tim Spencer-Jason Hewitt-Jonathan Phillips formation was spared his criticism.

“We didn’t have the legs that we had the last few nights,” the coach conceded. “We have got to get into better shape. Tuesday is going to be a real long day for them.”

Christiansen accepts that to beat Panthers the side has to “compete to the best of our ability. We didn’t play the way we can, we didn’t give Nottingham the game we should have.

“We need to execute our systems much better than we did. We had two major breakdowns that caused goals (against). We left two guys wide open at the back door.”

The coach added: “When you lose 4-1 to your arch rival there aren’t enough positives. We need to focus on things we can improve on, which probably goes the whole way through. But the line up of Hewitt Spencer and Jono was a real positive.

“Spencer’s fight was perfect timing, it got the crowd and players into it.

“He has played fantastic since he has been a Steeler and I have every expectation that he is going to continue to do so. It’s a small bright spot in a very disappointing evening,” said Christiansen.