Jack Ross urged his Sunderland players to take maximum points from their last three games and ensure there are no regrets should one of their rivals slip up.
A frustrating 1-1 draw with Peterborough United on Monday means that automatic promotion is now in the hands of Portsmouth and Barnsley.
Portsmouth are Sunderland's next opponents at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Barnsley face Blackpool and Bristol Rovers before the regular season is over, with Portsmouth playing Peterborough United and Accrington Stanley after their trip north.
Ross knows how disappointed his players will be after Monday but does not believe he will have to lift them before the weekend.
Pompey are arguably in just as much need for three points and Ross believes that could suit his players.
"No [need to lift them], because of how the games this season have been against them and the crowd that is going to be in the stadium, because of the significance of the game for both teams," he said.
“Barnsley won again, Portsmouth don’t have any margin for error either really as well, I think that will suit us, it will be a good game.
“We have to make sure we win every game, starting on Saturday.
“The last thing you want to do is somebody else slip up and you haven’t taken advantage of it," he added.
“The players will be fine, they will be okay, there were no magic words you can say straight after the game to take away the soreness but they have got to be resilient and strong enough to deal with that disappointment and go again.”
Ross expects further twists and turns before the end of the season and so urged his players to take care of their own business first.
"We have three really big games, it doesn’t matter what the perception of them is, Barnsley will have two difficult games, Portsmouth three," he said.
“First and foremost this is a big game Saturday and we want to win it.”