Last week was a tough week for the players as we were at the training camp in Portugal.
It was all about getting the players away from their normal surroundings so they could live in each other’s pockets for five days. We did three sessions a day in extreme heat to get their fitness levels up so that when we got to the game on Wednesday they were mentally and physically tired. This is what we wanted because we wanted them to understand the importance of keeping the ball and not just in the first sixty minutes of the game because that will be important this season. If you speak to any of the lads they will tell you it was far from being an holiday but it was good as their attitude was fantastic especially as we worked them very hard, which we will see the benefits of when we start the season.
The game we arranged against a good Portuguese side last Wednesday was good because the lads had had three tough sessions the day before which meant they had to get themselves ready for the match. We kicked off at 11am, which meant we played at the hottest period of the day against lads who were used to the heat. It was very pleasing that they coped with the challenge and to be honest should have won by four or five more goals. We played some really good stuff and it hit home that when you are tired you have make the ball do the work to save energy.
This week we will be doing similar with double sessions of football work and fitness sessions like this afternoon. We are now on the home straight for the season with a tough game at Bradford on Saturday. We will be working a lot more tactical stuff this week ahead of the game to follow on from the bits and pieces we did in Portugal. We will be working on different systems that we want to play as although you respect your opposition it’s all about how we do. Most of our work other than Bradford will be done at the training ground, as we don’t want to give much away before the season starts.
It’s massively important that with three homes games to start with including the first one against Blackpool on August 3rd, that we hit the ground running, which is what we are aiming for. We know we will have tough games but we have to be confident and believe in what we do, to go on and succeed at this level. This is what we are drumming into them now and we will run out in front of our fans on opening day full of belief. I would ask that you all come along to that first game and make it something special as we run out as Champions.
I know there is lots of speculation out there regarding players and I have indicated to the owners my targets but we have to be patient. I am hopeful that some of my target players will be in this week but until they sign on the dotted line, I won’t name them but you will be pleased if all goes to plan on who I have brought in.