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Gary Neville: How to develop a winning mindset

You’ve got to work at it

A winning mentality is built up over a period of time. It’s not a case of being born with a good attitude and work ethic. It can grow inside you. You have to surround yourself with people that have accountability inside them. They want to win every single day. High standards have to be set.

Bring out the best in your players

The manager sets the tone for a winning mentality. It’s down to him to create a winning environment. Players blossom in an enjoyable atmosphere – one that encourages hard work and preparation. Every single week the manager has to make it clear that he never wants anything other than a victory.

Deal with disappointment

Winners understand that a game isn’t always going to go their way. You will face adversity, but you can’t get too down when you’re losing and get too carried away when you’re winning. The right mindset comes from having a belief in your ability and the confidence to overcome difficult moments.

Appoint lieutenants in the group
You need leaders in a dressing room. The manager can’t be in touch with the players all the time so he needs characters that are going to set an example with the way they behave, act and train. The players train and socialise together so the manager needs to make sure they’re buying into the ethos all the time, especially when he’s not with them. This is where leaders in the dressing room can really help.

Recruit winners
People want to know how Sir Alex Ferguson installed the drive to keep going every single year, to keep winning trophies – that relentless nature that exists at United. He recruited the right type of players – players that had his traits. When you grow up around big players, the best players, who fight every single minute they’re on the pitch you think, ‘How can I not follow that?’ You pick up their habits.

Neville was talking at an event for Vauxhall, the England sponsor. Keep up to date with news and comps at and

For more football tips see:
Michael Ballack: Win the German way
Winning body language
Inside a winning dressing room
What you need to win the league
Build unshakeable team spirit

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