On the way in to central London today, I, like nearly everyone on the train, was perusing the Metro. Normally I don't put much stock in this free paper (mostly because I've already heard almost everything they publish) but in this edition, they'd published a little chat with John Terry, who was speaking about "modern manager" Andre Villas-Boas. In a throwaway remark, the Chelsea captain mentioned he'd been speaking to Aston Villa players, who were engaged in double workouts, every day. Clearly JT felt Mr. Villas-Boas has it right.
As unpopular as it is to agree with Terry these days, I can't help but nod my head as well. Yesterday, Aaron posted a quote in which Alex McLeish stated, "We need to strengthen." While others took that as "Villa are going to buy tonnes more players," 7500 believes it's more about strengthening the individual players. The problem is learning where the breaking point is -- literally, in this case.
Remember last season, when Villa had so many on the physio table that we were convinced supporters would have to step in? I can recall having James Collins, Richard Dunne, and Luke Young all injured at the same time. Gabriel Agbonlahor breaks when he trips over a blade of grass. Stiliyan Petrov is likely one knock away from his career ending. Yet rather than engage in different methods of preparation, Great Scot thinks the best strategy is double workouts.
Now, I'm not a manager. I've even had to uninstall FM '11 because I was neglecting my studies. But one look at the players on the pitch in Hong Kong, and it was obvious they were utterly knackered. Perhaps it was the heat -- but Chelsea seemed to get on just fine. The Villans just looked drained of energy. And that's really not how we want to start of a season, pushing players to the brink, leaving them exhausted, with no energy for the fight.