Tevez gripes stem from Mancini's need for team-building
Complaints about tough training schedule ignore City's major tactical overhaul
Wednesday 14 April 2010
Carlos Tevez's complaint at having to train morning and afternoon is unlikely to elicit much sympathy from the vast majority of Britain's working population, but it is unusual for a football club to be doing double sessions at this stage of the season. Pre-season they are common but once the grind of an English season begins most clubs train mornings only, and even then physical work is limited when clubs are playing twice a week. Rest becomes as important as practice.
However, City's schedule has hardly been onerous since going out of the domestic cup competitions. In the last 45 days they have played six matches, and only goalkeeper Shay Given has played all 90 minutes of those. Which may be why manager Roberto Mancini, who spent most of his career in Italy where double sessions are more common, has had his players back in the afternoons.
Tevez says the extra sessions have not improved him as a player. While that suggests either he is a slow learner, or Mancini a bad coach, it is beside the point. Mancini is doing double sessions because he took over City mid-season and is trying to teach them to defend and attack differently. That takes time on the training ground.
There are reasons for the success of Fulham and Stoke. One of them is that both Roy Hodgson and Tony Pulis, their respective managers, put great store behind training as a team, running through repetitive drills, planning for the next opponent. Both tend to do only morning sessions at this stage of the season, but when they were bedding in the team pattern, extra sessions were more prevalent.
It is noticeable, too, that the best players often do extra work on their own initiative, Gianfranco Zola was a prime example. Eric Cantona's example means such habits are commonplace at Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson often has to call the likes of Wayne Rooney in from training.
There is some sympathy for the Argentine. Given his work-rate during matches he is probably more drained than most, plus, he has had several trans-Atlantic flights this season, first to play for Argentina, then because of the difficult birth of his daughter. However, given Tevez is thought to earn every month what Barack Obama is paid in a year ($400,000), having to put in two shifts a day, of two-to-three hours each, ought to be accommodated without moaning.
All in a day's work: How City's regime compares
Burnley 11am to 1pm daily. A day off is given every three days before a match.
Everton Sometimes do double sessions, but mainly pre-season. Times vary.
Hull Morning sessions of 90 minutes. Often double training including weights.
Liverpool Double sessions usually kept to pre-season. Train mornings, with rest days dependent on fixtures and travel.
Man Utd No two weeks are the same, but players usually train 10am to noon.
Spurs 11 to 1.30 except Wednesdays before Saturday games or Thursday ahead of Sunday matches.
Stoke Four 90-minute sessions per week with the option of weight training in the afternoon. Wednesdays off.
Wolves 10.30 to noon plus 20-minute warm-up. Gym and conditioning work Tuesday and Thursday. Wednesdays off.
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