Mauricio Pochettino sounds like he’s got a bit of old school in his managing and training methods, and I like that.
Danny Rose has described him as a ‘disciplinarian’, and Rickie Lambert has spoken about how tough his training sessions are.
The above sentence will bring anxiety to some of our current crop of players and have them quaking in their boots. And you know what? GOOD! If you’re not ready to put the work in, fight for Chelsea, and fight for your place in a Pochettino starting Xl every Saturday, then respectfully use the exit doors at Cobham.
If you put the work in, you will more often than not reap the rewards of it, and that especially goes for a footballer.
In The Telegraph today, it says running is something Chelsea players who want to succeed under Pochettino will have to do a lot of and they may soon become familiar with the notorious Gacon test, a gruelling intermittent shuttle run favoured by the coach and his staff.
“To start with, the players have 45 seconds to cover 150 metres, with 15 seconds to rest,” explained Pochettino in his book. “In each subsequent 45-second rep, they have to run 6.25 metres further, with the intensity steadily increasing.”
Southampton players hated the Gacon test and, upset with the amount of running Pochettino was demanding on Mondays after games, Rickie Lambert went to see his new coach to request a relaxation. He was listened to politely and the pair shook hands.
“I went out [of the office] and went back to the lads made up, thinking, ‘yep, just done it for you boys, next Monday gonna be sorted’,” the striker said. “So, I played the game [the next weekend], 90 minutes again, come in Monday, not only did we do 12, we did 24 runs – 24 runs and I just knew, I was running around laughing and almost crying and I knew what he was doing, he was breaking me and he did, he broke me.”
So these methods clearly benefitted Lambert, who would probably never have been marked as the fittest player in the squad or one with the most stamina. But his success came after intensely hard work, and that’s a fine example of it paying off.
Lambert went on to play for England and earn a dream move to Liverpool, just as Danny Rose flourished under Pochettino at Tottenham after an early wake-up call.
“He’s very thorough, very precise, he’s a disciplinarian,” said Rose. “He records training. He was the first manager I came across who records training, records gym sessions. There’s no hiding places.
“There was one game, we played Crystal Palace, and I thought I had a good game. He called me into his office the next day to analyse the game. I thought there were going to be some good clips. He had 26 bad clips of what I did wrong. That’s how he is as a manager.”
To me, this is all music to my ears. But can you imagine some of the weak minded current Chelsea players in our squad reading all the above and being happy about it!? No, neither can I! Some of them should either be really pushing to leave right now, or be getting ready to change their attitudes and getting set to knuckle down, keep quiet, do the hard work, and reap the rewards of it.
A squad full of 100% fit players who can run all day and at pace, will always have a very good chance in any game they play. As well as technical ability and quality, teams need to be able to out-do their opponents physically and out-run them as much as they can.
I’ve always thought that Pochettino brings the perfect balance of discipline, respect, but also being able to throw an arm around the shoulder as well. Players like Harry Kane will always speaks very positively on Pochettino as a person as well as a coach, and he is one of many players whom Pochettino formed close relationships with on and off the pitch, and that is also a very good thing.
If players respect, like, and trust you, then they are going to be much more willing to put in the hard yards for you, on the training pitch and in games. This is what Pochettino will try to build at Chelsea, and I think he will be able to get players working hard for him here, I really do.
Chelsea players will have a choice, they either ride with Poch, or ride in the opposite direction. And if they chose the opposite direction, then it is up to the board at our club to completely back Pochettino and support him, rather than individual players. I guess you could call it tough love? But that is fully needed at this club right now to build strong mentalities and end any sign of player power.
I do have concerns about how some modern day players would take to these type of training methods, but also, I’m past caring. You either want to put the hard work in to succeed or you don’t, and if you don’t, then off you pop kid.