LUKE Williams has revealed the weight of pressure Swindon Town manager Mark Cooper puts on himself each week, saying the club are fortunate to have a man so “driven and ambitious” at the helm.
Williams arrived at the County Ground in the summer to work alongside Cooper as assistant coach and the former Brighton academy chief plays a major role in training and scouting with the Robins.
But he has also been there for Cooper to confide in during a turbulent term, during which Swindon have experienced as many dreary lows as extraordinary highs, and from the conversations he has had with the Town boss Williams has learnt plenty about the 45-year-old’s character.
“The manager wants to win. He’s a competitive person and when things aren’t going our way he’s very practical. He’ll make changes and set his mind to find out why we’re not winning games of football. I think he deals with the pressure very, very well. There’s a lot more pressure than people can see,” he said.
“My job is to make sure that I do whatever the manager wants me to do to the best of my ability.
“The manager has got all that pressure and he needs people he can rely on to do whatever it is that is the way forward.
“I think we work very well together. We challenge each other in our views, which is a must.
“It’s important that you don’t always agree on everything and I think we understand each other well enough.”
Williams talks about Cooper’s perfectionist side and his compulsion to blame himself when things go wrong for the team, saying: “When you’re driven and motivated you put pressure on yourself.
“The manager is always looking for the perfect performance.
“He wants us to win every game, never concede a goal and if things don’t go to plan it doesn’t sit well with him. He’s a winner.
“Then of course you have the external factors - if the fans are making themselves heard and they’re not happy he takes that to heart a little bit.
“You’ve got pressure from the people at the football club who are expecting us to win every week and there is a lot of pressure from different places but also the pressure he puts on himself. He’s driven and ambitious.”
That’s not a universal character trait among the game’s managers, according to Williams.
He said: “I’ve seen a few managers who don’t strike me as overly bothered either way. Some managers take it or leave it a little bit and if the team don’t play well it’s probably ‘the players aren’t good enough’ and they don’t stress about it.
“We’ve got a manager who, if the team doesn’t perform well enough, takes it personally and he wants to do something about it.
“That puts stress on yourself but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
“If a manager’s not putting pressure on himself to produce it’s probably because he’s not 100 per cent committed. Our manager is. He’s very ambitious.”