Linfield Ladies midfielder Chloe McCarron insists that the club’s winning mentality will prove crucial in this season’s title race.
A defeat to Glentoran last time out saw the Blues slip behind their fierce Belfast rivals on goal difference - with the Glens holding a ten-goal advantage.
“Linfield are a club who are built on winning, it goes through every aspect of the club,” McCarron explained.
“The expectations are always there no matter what team you are representing because of the badge and what it means.
“There is a winning mentality here which is unrivalled elsewhere so when we do lose a game it is a bit of a shock but that just drives us on to even greater success and keeps us on our toes.
“We are now in a position that not only is there the pressure on us to win a number of matches in a row that are coming up, but we also need to close the gap on goal difference to Glentoran.
“There is a 10-goal gap that we need to close down so we now have games coming up that we feel we can close that difference, so we not only need to win but we need to win well.”
The Blues have won each of the last three league titles but face their toughest challenge yet with both Glentoran and Sion Swifts laying down impressive markers in the opening months of this campaign.
“Out of all these sides in the division, we probably had the toughest start in terms of our fixtures but we came through it strongly,” McCarron continued.
“We have had to deal with a lot of players missing out with injuries or their own work commitments, so we have had to reshuffle the team about a bit and that has impacted our start.
“Last season we won the league with four games to spare but this time round the competition is much fiercer and the standard has definitely gone up, but that is driving us to raise our own standards too.
“Megan Bell leaving for Durham is another test for us because she has been such an important player for us, and she will be missed.
“It is a great move for her of course - she would have been silly not to take an opportunity like that and we are all certain she has a massive career ahead of her.
“But the other side of that is that it will give an opportunity for another girl to come up and take that space because there is no shortage of talent coming through.”
The South Belfast side have already fielded 13 teenagers this campaign while McCarron is just one of two players - alongside captain Kirsty McGuinness - to start every league game thus far.
“Our boss Phil Lewis is very keen to get our younger players involved with the first team, firstly through training sessions then our matches,” she explained.
“He always tends to have an eye on players coming through the youth ranks because he monitors them closely and there are always girls coming through.
“The likes of (16-year-old) Casey Howe is someone who has come through in recent months and is now establishing herself as a starting player.
“I’m probably one of the more experienced players in the team now but throughout my time at the club it has always been about winning and improving.
“I have always seen myself as a team player and I am never concerned about who gets the goals as long as we end up winning the game, that is all that matters to me.”