Mark Shaw insists he’s not feeling the pressure after a disappointing start to the 2016/17 season.
Under his management, Worksop Town have enjoyed three consecutive top-four league finishes.
But after 11 games of the current campaign, his Tigers find themselves in an unfamiliar position, 13th in the table – closer to bottom placed Parkgate than leaders Liversedge.
Worksop have lost their last three games and while Shaw has called it the ‘toughest’ month of his managerial career, he also says the pressure isn’t getting to him.
What is getting to him is pressure being piled on his players.
“I’m not feeling the pressure,” he said.
“For me it’s about winning games of football. I want to win every game and I will over analyse after a defeat.
“But what bothers me more is that these players aren’t professionals, they’re not Wayne Rooney, they’re not paid to take the stick they get sometimes.
“They go to work and then come to training and train until late at night, they dedicate themselves.
“It doesn’t help they’re getting a lot of stick. They worry me more than anything else.”
Shaw was involved in an ugly confrontation with a supporter earlier in the season , the manager claiming he had been the subject of personal abuse that crossed the line.
Criticism is par for the course, however, and that’s something he accepts.
“I’ve been in the game 15 years and I know all about what goes on,” he said.
“People aren’t happy and they’re allowed to have an opinion and express it at Worksop.
“I can take anything on the chin as a manager.”
With Tigers down in 13th and another of last season’s title contenders Handsworth Parramore outside the top five, the league table has taken on a fresh appearance.
Making up two of the top three in the NCEL Premier currently are Liversedge and Thackley, teams who finished 14th and 12th respectively last season.
Shaw says their current form is the result of seeing a plan through to fruition.
“These clubs have been building,” he said.
“Last year Liversedge had a very young side, they were a bit disjointed and towards the end of the season pulled together and got themselves right out of trouble.
“Thackley have been a dangerous side, but they’ve been doing a lot around their facility and their junior section.
“Whether they’ve had investment or not, they’ve had a plan that they’re working towards and are keeping to it.
“These clubs are closing the gap, it’s a lot more of an open league this year.”
The success of previously unfancied outfits gives clubs like Worksop something to think about, says the manager.
Shaw said: “We’ve got to look at ourselves.
“What’s our plan, what’s the club doing, how’s the team building, where are we going?”