Training: The Devil is in the detail Rio compares New style v Old style
13 July 2013 08:25
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Old Management VERSUS New Management Rio Ferdinand, former Captain and living United icon was asked how was training going and was it different (to the approach of Sir Alex, René Meulensteen and Mike Phelan) in yesterdays Press Conference. Ferdinand replied that ‘It is early to say, but we are enjoying it. It is different to what we have been used to and it’s a challenge for us all. The training has been hard but also fair and we appreciate that here.’ The new regime is in. David Moyes, Steve Round, Jimmy Lumsden and Phil Neville will be putting their own style, stamp & authority on training ground matters. We will find out how “different” it is in the coming months. The test of the training methods is when there are matches flying at the rate of two to three per week in the heart of the premier League season. This is when there is a very fine balance to be made between ‘working on fitness’ and ‘maintenance of fitness’ when players are dog-tired and mentally weary from the onslaught of matches and the physical demands placed upon them. This is when it is possible that Training becomes a chore. This is what the Ferguson era excelled at. With the likes of Steve McClaren, Carlos Queiroz and René Meulensteen renowned for delivering fresh, innovative and demanding but crucially ‘fun’ training sessions at times of the season when physical (and mental) demands on players is at it’s peak. Fergusons teams have traditionally punched above their weight in the Premier League, often winning it, when on paper, their rivals boasted better individual players on paper. A crucial component of that is the variety and freshness of training when the season becomes a slog. Now, fresh from the off season, and basking in the adulation of the Asian fans, Ferdinand says “It is early to say” (i.e. the judgement is still out on training) “.but we are enjoying it” (we haven’t kicked a ball in anger in 6 weeks and it’s great to have something to do). The Sport Science, which in Fergusons mind had evolved, and was widely pervasive in his latter year methods, was crucial to the percentages of stamina, concentration and will-power that repeatedly won games in the dying minutes. One would hope that is embraced to the same effect and same manner by the incoming management team of Moyes, Round & Lumsden. One is sure that a certain Mr. Ferguson will point the way for Mr. Moyes in the coming months, if he veers a little off track!