Turn that negative into a positive
This is the number one key point in creating a siege mentality. You must find a negative from outside your club. Has another team been bad-mouthing your style of play? Have you got into a heated argument with the opposition? Has your team been unfairly punished by those in charge? Pinpoint these negatives and use them to galvanise the team. Drill into the players that everyone is against your team. ‘Everyone hates us; everyone wants us to lose’ needs to be the message.
Make the most of your senior players
Get your captain and senior players to reinforce the negative opinions and viewpoints being expressed by outside sources. Make sure they are letting the younger players know just how disgraceful everyone outside the club is and how important it is to ‘show them how good we really are’. As the most respected and established players in the squad, they have a huge influence in the dressing room and their support will add credibility to your goals.
More after the break
Make the players feel valued at all times
A siege mentality requires confidence within the camp and players want their managers to believe in them. You have to be passionate about your team’s strengths. Reflect this back to individuals. Tell them how good they are and back this up with examples of their best moments in training and in matches. Using specific references reassures the player you are watching them and taking note of their contribution. Be enthusiastic and upbeat about the game coming up.
Create a common cause for the club
There’s nothing more powerful than a feeling of togetherness at a club. Take time to sit your players down and ask them what the team goal should be. Allow them to drive this process themselves. Then get it written down and declare that no one else in the league believes you are anywhere near good enough to achieve the goals set. But most importantly, always, always reinforce that you believe it is achievable through hard work.
Defend your players publicly – always
You may not be asked to air your views about the conduct or performances of your players on national TV, but every football club has a social element – some bigger than others – and it’s vital you keep your views of your players as positive as possible. If someone has a go at one of your players, such as an opposing player or manager, then defend your charge to the hilt. These players are your army and if you want them to be loyal to you, you must be loyal to them.
“Messi’s injured? We don’t need him”