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7 Things a Premier League Manager Needs to Do to Beat the Drop

02/04/2014 12:13 BST | Updated 01/06/2014 10:59 BST

It's nearing crunch time at the bottom of the Premier League table and a handful of teams will be looking nervously over their shoulders as the bottom three make one last push for safety.

How does a floundering side avoid getting dragged down to the Championship next season? Well, there are just seven simple steps...

7. Fire Up the Team

When West Brom went into the final day of the 2004/05 season bottom of the table, barely anybody believed they had a hope of escaping the drop.

Needing three other results to go their way to have even a chance of staying up, it would've been easy for the players' heads to drop.

But Bryan Robson kept the players focused on their task, reminding them that they could still be the first side in the Premier League era to avoid relegation after being bottom at Christmas.

He said, "It was a motivational thing... I told the players, 'Let's make history to make sure we stay in the Premiership.'"

Robson's never-say-die attitude rubbed off on his players and they beat Portsmouth 2-0 to stay up as their rivals all dropped points elsewhere.

6. Lean on His Captain

The relationship between a manager and his skipper is crucial when geeing up a team and this was never more apparent than when Coventry City avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth in 1997.

When Ron Atkinson moved aside mid-season, Gordon Strachan stepped up as player-manager, leaving his former Leeds team-mate Gary McAllister as captain. As such, Coventry had a tight-knit leadership and team who knew they could rely on each other.

With Strachan and McAllister leading from the front, the Sky Blues beat Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham (on the last day) to secure their place in the Premier League by a single point.

5. Tighten Up at the Back

When you're scrapping for every point, it's vital to be able to count on your defence to secure at least a draw.

No side showed this better than Wigan Athletic in the 2011/12 season. 19th in the league at the start of April and conceding nearly two goals per game, Roberto Martinez's side halved the goals they shipped in their final seven games, despite facing Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal.

So impressive was their defence, in fact, that they shut out United to secure their first win over the Manchester club and beat Arsenal away from home to finish a full seven points clear of the drop zone.

4. Try to Keep a Settled First Team

When the club's Premier League status hangs in the balance, a little momentum can go a long way.

One way to help this along is to keep a winning side intact. When Fulham were staring down the barrel of relegation in 2008, they were handed a lifeline when they beat relegation rivals Reading for only their fifth victory of the season.

Having found a winning formula, Roy Hodgson only made one change from that side over their next four games.

The settled, well drilled team won three of the four and stayed in the top flight on goal difference.

3. Don't Get Desperate

"We just need one result to kick-start us."

That's what Harry Redknapp told his Portsmouth side when they were a full eight points from safety with only 10 games to go in 2006.

If anyone knows how to mastermind a comeback, it's Redknapp. Having thrice brought clubs back from the brink in the closing weeks of a season, Redknapp is completely unfazed by the task ahead. The calm confidence he brings to the situation is key.

2. Get the Home Crowd Onside

When a side is struggling, it's easy for their fans to lash out against the side when the players need them the most.

For the manager, it's vital to get the club's 12th man on top form. Whether it's a matter of praising them in the press or even trying to convince the club to lower ticket prices for the last few home games to pack out the stands, the fans are crucial and it's important they're not overlooked

1. Keep Rubbing That Lucky Rabbit's Foot

Sometimes you've done all you can and it's in the hands of the gods.

Whether it's a situation like West Brom in 2005 where three of their rivals dropped points, or Carlisle United staying in the Football League by virtue of a last second goal scored by their goalkeeper Jimmy Glass, a little bit of luck can be the difference between glory and failure.

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