Arsene Wenger reckons that 90% of elite-level football is mental. If that's the case, the only way to hack it at the top is to make yourself mentally impregnable. Forget your home ground is a fortress: your own mind has to be a fortress, immune from criticism, dips in confidence and the efforts of the opposition.
"You can be friends off the pitch, but when you’re on the pitch you want to win," LA Galaxy and England defender Ashley Cole tells FourFourTwo Performance.
More after the break
Check out the video to find out his top tips on big-game preparation, coping with sledging and dealing with an early mistake.
As part of Nike’s The Chance initiative, a global search for young football talent, Ashley has been helping to toughen up the four UK finalists ahead of The Chance world finals to be held in London, January 19-22. 100 players from around the world will take part in the finals and eight will be selected to play for the Nike Academy full time from next season.
Ashley enlisted the help of James Milner, Rio Ferdinand and Aaron Lennon to help ‘mentor’ the four UK hopefuls. To follow their progress visit www.facebook.com/nikefootball