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By Doug Higginbottom, Thu 26 April 2012 13:29
Not the best weather to watch in but at least no rain to start with as the full squad came out. I think there were 21 for starters, maybe 22 as Suarez was there, and I don't think anyone was missing. The keepers were down my end with the rest a good 80 /100 yards away.After the initial gentle jogs to warm up they got into a handball game which lasted much longer than normal but they were really enjoying it from all the laughter ringing around. I say handball but I think it was getting towards Aussie Rules based on some of the kicking from hand that was going on. That part ended when somebody scored amidst noisy celebrations and it was off for some specific fitness exercises in and out of poles, rope ladders and cones.Then Mancini took the full defensive unit, including "holding" midfielders away for some work leaving the rest to play a 6 a side game. Good to see Edin and Mario getting plenty of goals and also a bit of the old magic returning to Silva. Mancini was being meticulous as usual with his work and stopping the flow regularly to ram home a point with the defenders. Joe Hart was right in front of me and got an injury which caused him to make a lot of noise. Not an injury at all really but he was in his best acting mode as he rolled around feigning injury. Nice of him to ask me why I had been relegated. He said it couldnt be because of the numbers inside today as there were about 10!Mancini then swapped the groups around to work with the attacking unit and leave the defenders to play 6 a side. By this time it had been raining for a while and very heavily. Watching the attacking group listening intently to Mancini whilst the rain was bouncing down was actually quite funny.I was lucky enough to be under a brolly. Much of this time I had been enjoying chatting to 2 true blues who had come down to see what they could see and maybe get a few autographs.Hope they got shelter through the worst of the rain. The bunch of photographers on the other side would certainly have got a thorough soaking. Shame!The 6 a side game with the defenders seemed more intense than it had been for the attacking players. Maybe not as many goals made it that way and as the others finished their work the game was getting quite tense waiting for the winning goal. It came from... not sure who actually as it's a long way through a curtain but I think it was either Micah or Kolo but the celebrations were good.That was about it. A few probably stayed for some shooting practice but even with a brolly I had had enough. The pitch they were on is one of the worst for viewing now for me so hopefully it will be better next time. The pitch nearest to Sale Sharks has been dug up completely and will be relaid/reseeded for the pre season work in June/July.