Desire. Heart. Hunger.
The finest teams have it. Success cannot come without it.
Anyone who watched Ulster’s win over Munster in the Heineken Cup recently will have been in no doubt which team wanted victory more.
It wasn’t that Munster didn’t have the talent or experience to claim yet another win – they have both in abundance – but their opponents left nothing behind them on the pitch. They fought for every tackle and every ruck ball as if their very lives depended it – a mentality often seen from the men in red. To continue the clichés, Munster were out-Munstered.
Ulster started the game with intent and their momentum – deservedly – carried them through. We did see signs of vintage Munster in the second half, but the difference between wanting to win and being utterly desperate for victory were apparent, and are completely unpredictable.
We often hear ‘The better team won’ line trotted out as an excuse by losing managers. Defeat is something that is accepted by supporters if their team genuinely has been out classed. If, however, fans perceive a lack of effort, desire, heart or hunger on players’ behalf, that’s when tension starts to build in the stands.
Before André Villas-Boas left Chelsea, the club’s players turned in a series of dismal performances and results. A change of manager and they are now preparing for an FA Cup final and still have a chance of securing European football for next season.
So where does the balance between approaching something as a cool, calm and trained professional meet with the passion that inevitably accompanies sport? …