One game at a timeIn this football language post we explain the football cliche, ‘one game at a time‘ which is used to take the pressure off a team that is doing well. Don’t forget we have hundreds more explanations of football language in our football glossary and we also have a page full of football cliches. If you have questions or comments about this or any other phrase then email us at:

Football Cliche: One game at a time

One of the most common football cliches is the phrase ‘one game at a time‘ or a variation of this phrase: ‘taking each game as it comes‘ which are often used by a coach or a player when they do not wish to look ahead too much in case they raise expectations – they want to avoid being complacent or over-confident. This means that they will only focus on the next game and not on the bigger one that follows it despite the fact that everyone else is already thinking about that bigger game! Concentration and focus are very important in football and so if a team doesn’t focus on the next game as much as they should then they may slip up and drop points or be dumped out of a cup competition by a team that is probably weaker than their own one on paper.

If a side has a big lead at the top of the table their manager admits that he or she is still not thinking about the title – instead they are preparing for their next match as they are taking it one game at a time. They don’t want their players to become over-confident or to lose focus and so they are not worried about how many games their side needs to win the title but instead is only taking each game as it comes. Or at least that is what they are telling us!

This cliche, like many other football cliches, often means that the speaker does not really want to give an opinion – cliches are one way of hiding people’s real feelings – and ‘one game at a time‘ allows the speaker to not give their true feeling or opinion about their upcoming games.

Example: When asked about their next round opponents the manager said her side would take one game at a time and focus on the replay first.

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Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football
Learn English Through Football

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