Mansfield Town manager David Flitcroft said he paid no attention to form books as prepared his side for the League Two play-off semi-finals against Newport County.
The Exiles go into Thursday’s first leg in Wales 10 matches unbeaten while Stags lost their last three games to miss out on automatic promotion.
But Flitcroft said: “The form will be in the game. If we go 1-0 up then we will be the form team.
“That’s how I look at every game – I don’t do ‘form’. When you are winning you’re doing the right things.
“Just because you are losing doesn’t mean you’re doing the wrong things.
“It’s about key moments and in one moment against MK Dons we didn’t do our job and accept responsibility on a corner. They scored a goal that took them out of the league.
“They are fine margins in these games. But this group has, for 95 per cent of the season, been an outstanding team.
“Yes we’ve had three defeats but I analyse it more closely than that.”
He added: “I have looked at Newport’s successful run and other teams have had chances in them.
A lot will be made of form and that we’ve dropped out now. But we have set the right mood and there is a real fight among that group of players.”
Ironically Stags began the current season with a 3-0 home win over Newport – a score they’d like to repeat in Sunday’s second leg.
Flitcroft said: “It’s mad how it works out isn’t it?
“We were brilliant on the day, then we went to Newport and it was a game I would want to forget with what happened to Danny Rose on the day. It was one of those games you put to the back of your mind very quickly.
“Newport have had a fantastic season and Flynny has done an unbelievable job. Massive credit to them.
“When you get a cup profile team usually it impacts your league form – we’ve seen that happen a lot. But it hasn’t done to Newport – it’s inspired them.
“It’s going to be one hell of a game and one hell of a week, but one we’re looking forward to.”