Vito praises Lightning players for winning character

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Lightning chairman Vito Rausa has described last weekend as the team’s best of a stop-start season thanks to the character of his players.

The city side blew Swindon Wildcats away in a 10-2 home win on Saturday night before securing a rare four-point weekend with a 3-1 victory at rivals Peterborough Phantoms on Sunday.

Those wins made it three in a row for Lightning who also picked up a valuable 7-5 success at Sheffield Steeldogs last Wednesday night. And although third place in the English Premier League table might be just out of their reach, Rausa is delighted to see his men going into the play-offs in such great shape.

“The players have shown fantastic character to bounce back from our defeat at Guildford the previous weekend,” he said. “We stank the place out down there. Everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong.

“But we were awesome against Swindon on Saturday. I think that sort of big victory has been coming in recent weeks. And of course we had that great road win at Sheffield before that.

“We didn’t play that well at Peterborough but we won ugly, and sometimes that’s what you need to do. We haven’t done it enough this season, so it was good to make it two wins from the last two against them.

“We probably won’t be able to catch Manchester because they have a fairly easy run-in, but we could yet overtake Basingstoke and go third if we can pick up two wins against them this weekend.”

Not making last season’s play-off weekend in Coventry was a huge regret for Rausa and his Lightning team – something they are desperate to make amends for this year.

Finishing in fourth place and securing home advantage in the play-off quarter finals was the minimum required this season, according to the chairman, who has also been thinking about what might have been in 2012/13.

“If we had picked up the results we should have against some of the teams near the bottom of the table, then I think we could have been in second or even first place,” said Rausa.

“No disrespect to those teams, but we often go down to their level when we play them, and then up to a higher level when we play the best teams.

“But we are where we are now, and it’s crucial that we make sure we finish in at least fourth place. We had to travel to Slough in the second leg of the quarter finals last year, so if we end up playing them again, we need to make sure we’re at home this time. And that we go through.

“Turning up at the play-offs last year was like going to a party that you haven’t been invited to. We don’t want to be doing that again.”