Romain Vincelot believes every match during the run-in will feel like a cup final for the O’s as they battle for automatic promotion.
Orient are currently second in League 1 and it looks increasingly likely the East Londoners will fight out a top-two finish with Brentford and leaders Wolves. But midfielder Vincelot insists the side cannot afford to look ahead to the end of the season and must treat each game as a knockout tie.
The Frenchman said: “I think it is still really close at the top because the others have two games in hand. We’re still in the race and have positive momentum.
“Obviously we are in a good position and have to keep it going but let’s not focus on May 3 and just concentrate on the next match. It’s like a kind of little cup now between three teams so it’s going to be like a final every game.”
Their first ‘final’ is this weekend as the O’s travel to a Notts County side propping up the table after being hammered 6-0 by Rotherham United.
Shaun Derry’s side have lost six of their last seven matches but Vincelot says it is hard to know whether the Magpies will react strongly or not after such a deflating defeat.
The former Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder said: “You never know because after a heavy defeat you can think they may be defending as hard as they can to not reproduce a bad result. Sometimes it can be good because they may be a bit disappointed, but it can also be a slap for them and produce a reaction.
“It’s hard to say if it’s a good moment to play them or not. But it’s all about us and if we go there with a focused attitude and adopt the same approach as every game then I think it’s in our hands.”
Orient have won their last three matches although they were far from at their best as they edged past Colchester United on Saturday. But Vincelot believes their attitude earned them the three points and thinks this was the crucial factor.
The 28-year-old said: “I think we created a few situations but then the last pass wasn’t as good as it should have been. We should have been a little better in the final third and it would have been a different game.
“But this is how it is sometimes and you can’t have everything all the time. The most important thing is we had the right attitude.”
Promotion rivals Brentford stumbled as they could only draw at Carlisle United and Vincelot thinks this demonstrates just how difficult it is to pick up wins at this stage of the season.
He said: “For us it was a really good result and when we saw that Brentford drew, we just realised it’s hard for everyone including the three teams at the top.
“Wolves seem to be showing their potential at the moment right now but it won’t be easy for anyone. It makes you realise anyone can do it and it’s about belief. That’s the key word.”