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Video: Fans have a right to criticise me – but get behind the players, says Sheffield Steelers’ boss

What has Paul Thompson got left to give as Sheffield Steelers' coach - will he surprise some of the fans and transform a failing side into winners?

Or will he be axed just eight games into the new ice hockey season?

Thompson's credentials would suggest he deserves longer to put right what he's got wrong.

And the owner, Tony Smith, does not seem the type to make such a decision after five losses and three wins.

Thompson has, after all, won the Elite League five times and collected nine Coach of the Year trophies.

Some fans, though, see him as the equivalent of Jose Mourinho - undoubted pedigree but seemingly and suddenly out of his depth. They base that on a single season without silverware (2017-18) followed by unexpectedly wholesale changes and a disappointing start in 2018-19.

As the boos rang out on Sunday, following the 2-6 home defeat to a massively-superior Cardiff Devils, fans of every other Elite League club were rubbing their hands at the Steeler misfortune.

Thompson accepts paying-customers' right to criticise him but asked them not to turn on players, whose confidence is probably already at a low ebb.

Asked if he felt the team lacked character, he said: "Well, we need to show more.

"Our captain gets us a goal (against Cardiff) but I think when the chips are down you are looking for character and...I am definitely looking for a little bit more. It is frustrating right now. For the fans, for us, for the ownership. We are not competing at the level that we should be. I hope our fans stick behind us.

Paul Thompson lays the law down Pic by Dean Woolley

Paul Thompson lays the law down Pic by Dean Woolley

"We have given them some good times over the years - this is a bad time. We need them right now.

"If they are annoyed with me - understandable. I accept that. But get behind the lads, they are the ones that will pull us out of this."