Eniola Aluko on how Olympic gold winners inspire her at end of the WSL season

Eniola Aluko

There has been a fascinating debate during these Olympics about what winning and losing means to the competing athletes at Rio 2016.

Although I disagree with a lot of what Piers Morgan says on social media, I was in strong agreement with his tweets last week about the mentality of settling for a silver or bronze medal and celebrating like it was a gold.

I think it comes down to the individual and whether they are reaching for the very top to get the ultimate prize, or are satisfied with coming second or third.

As a top-level sportswoman, I have my own experiences of the difference between all three, having won a bronze at the 2015 World Cup and a silver at the European Championship in 2009, and also winning last season's Women's Super League and FA Women's Cup.

All of those medals felt fantastic but I would make no secret of the fact that the two I won with Chelsea felt the best - because we won.

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Chelsea Ladies lift the Women's FA Cup at Wembley

I understand that every athlete has their own journey and challenges to overcome that may mean that they see silver or bronze as a 'win' for them but personally I would like to think that they all want to strive to be the best.

When you look at the athletes at the very top of their respective sports, you can see how relentless they are in their pursuit of winning.

Swimming legend Michael Phelps is a great example of this, because after winning his 23rd Olympic gold medal at these Games, he clearly does not settle for anything less.

So I understand Morgan's point that Team GB needs that mentality too, or gold would not have been the benchmark in Brazil or for our next generation of athletes.

Thankfully, Team GB are now sitting nicely in second place in the medals table, with cycling superstars Laura Trott and Jason Kenny collecting five golds between them in Rio. They have 10 in total, which is a fantastic achievement.

Mourinho's winning habit will be the difference

Man Utd boss Jose Mourinho
Mourinho won the Premier League three times with Chelsea and has a total of eight league titles in four different countries

The same principle applies at the top of the Premier League too, where some clubs seem to see finishing second, third or fourth as a "win".

The main reason I think Manchester United will win the title this season is because they have signed proven winners like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paul Pogba and finishing first is all that matters to their manager Jose Mourinho too.

Mourinho knows how to achieve it because he has done it so many times before. I believe his winning experience in the Premier League will be the defining difference between him and Pep Guardiola this season, although it is a difficult one to call.

Fear of losing drives my desire to win

I saw a quote recently from tennis world number one Serena Williams about how she hates losing more than she loves winning, and I can definitely relate to that.

Sometimes the fear of losing acts as a motivator for me to do all that I can - within the rules - to win and when you have that kind of desire it is not always easy to deal with defeat.

I saw that this week with one of my former team-mates, United States goalkeeper Hope Solo, after her side were knocked out of the Olympic tournament on penalties by Sweden in the quarter-finals.

Hope already has two Olympic gold medals and is the most decorated goalkeeper, male or female, playing in the world.

She is a serial winner and one of the reasons she has had the career she has is that she is one of the best winners - and worst losers - that I know.

US goalkeeper Hope Solo
Solo won Olympic gold in 2008 and 2012 - you can see a video of her changing her gloves during the shoot-out below

Hope is known for being outspoken too, and I think her criticism of Sweden after the game - referring to them as "cowards" because of their tactics - was regrettable to say the least.

Part of the reason she said what she did was because of when she was interviewed. I am not defending or excusing her but I do appreciate how difficult it must have been to speak straight after a high intensity, highly emotional match.

But I think her comments represent someone who was so driven by her desire to win that it was difficult to be gracious in defeat too. I guess not everyone can be a serial winner and gracious loser all at the same time.

Another indication of that were her delaying tactics during the shoot-out against Sweden, when she changed her gloves just before Lisa Dahlkvist scored the decisive penalty.

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Solo changes her gloves in the shoot-out

Many people saw it as unsporting behaviour but I believe that if Dahlkvist had missed after having to wait so long to take her penalty, then Solo would have been applauded for her tactics.

By distracting her opponent, she was doing whatever it took within the rules to win and although I commend and endorse sporting behaviour, I also know that winning at the elite level doesn't always involve niceties.

Sweden also beat Brazil on penalties in their semi-final and will play Germany in the Olympic final.

I am hoping my team-mate at Chelsea, Sweden goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl, will bring home the gold, and she is another player who I know wants nothing less.

Olympic stories and Team GB football in Tokyo 2020?

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Wayde van Niekerk wins 400m gold in new world record time

As I have written in previous columns, it is a huge shame that politics meant the Great Britain men's and women's football teams were not at Rio 2016. I just hope that situation can be resolved in time for the Tokyo games in 2020.

I felt pretty jealous of all the athletes seeing all their smiles at the opening ceremony in Brazil but it has been great to be watching as much of the Olympics as I can.

I have been really inspired by all the inspiring athletes and their life stories, like the Brazilian judo gold medallist Rafaela Silva who has gone from a favela to the top of the podium after facing a lot of racism in her career.

Then you have the Muslim women who played beach volleyball wearing hijabs, representing a diversity and acceptance in sport that needs to be celebrated and which we cannot take for granted.

My favourite Olympic winning story so far though is seeing the 74-year-old female veteran coach Anna Botha beaming with joy and pride after seeing South African Wayde van Niekerk break the world record and win a gold medal in the 400m. What an incredible story for women in sport of all ages.

Business end of the WSL season

Aluko doing shooting drills
Aluko filmed her solo shooting drills in training. You can see the video on Twitter

The Women's Super League season resumes at the end of August and although we have not had any games recently in the last few weeks, I have been really enjoying training with Chelsea and look forward to what is now the business end of the season with six league games to go.

A lot of our other players are away on international duty at the moment so I have been able to do more individual work - a lot of shooting and finishing - and the coaches have more one to one time to coach me individually.

I was not selected for the latest England squad for their training camp this week but I am very happy with the way I am performing.

I am currently the top-scoring English striker in the WSL with seven goals in all competitions and I hope to keep scoring and assisting goals and performing well to help Chelsea to win our remaining league games.

Like all the gold-winning Olympians, winning the league and retaining our FA WSL trophy is what I have in mind - I am not targeting second place.

England and Chelsea forward Eniola Aluko was speaking to BBC Sport's Chris Bevan.