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Inside Matters: Schmeichel - I didn't dwell on mistakes

9 May 2020

Manchester United's five-time champion reveals how he coped with the pressure of being the last line of defence

The unique pressure felt by a goalkeeper is understood only too well by Peter Schmeichel.

A five-time Premier League champion with Manchester United, Schmeichel proved a formidable last line of defence for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.

Speaking in the third part of "Inside Matters", a series of exclusive interviews with football stars about the mental challenges they have faced, the former Denmark international reveals how not dwelling on errors he committed during a match proved crucial to his success.

Decision-making

"Mistakes are made in every game," he said. "I had to make a decision early on in my life that I accept that. That whenever I enter the pitch there is a risk I am going to make a mistake that will cost a goal; if I don't accept that now I can't be a goalkeeper.

"So my thinking was as soon as that ball went in the net due to my mistake, I hadn't made a mistake. Simple as that. I told myself I hadn't and then I carried on, I never thought about it."

For Schmeichel, who kept an impressive 128 clean sheets in 310 appearances for the Red Devils, moving on quickly from a defeat was just as important.

"Maybe not for 24 hours, but for a couple of hours yes, I hated losing games," he said.

"But the thing is you can't feel sorry for yourself. You have to get on to the next moment in your life as quickly as you can for a variety of reasons."

Schmeichel picked out the treble-winning season of 1998/99 as the perfect example of his team adopting the same positive approach.

"The Manchester United squad back then mentally was so strong," he said. "Secondly, you had a leader, you had Sir Alex Ferguson who was like that.

Also in this series

See: Inside Matters: Stars discuss mental health challenges

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