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By Doug Higginbottom, Wed 31 October 2012 13:30
A day off yesterday and a late 2pm start today which will have disappointed those young kids on school holidays and at Carrington from 9am hoping for autographs. The good news though was seeing Garcia and Zaba out for training. It turned out that Garcia wasn't involved in the contact training but worked very hard with a physio most of the time but Zaba is back!Just as they set off for initial jogs and exercises Carlos squared up to Mario in a boxing stance. I wonder if the 1 photographer picked that one to try and get it published and show them in good spirits. 17 on show in total and sadly not including Silva yet but I was told he was inside so hopefully nearing the time he will be back out getting fully fit. 3 keepers working (maybe 4 if Wright was there but I couldn't see him). I was surprised Johansen was here and not in Italy but also assisting the keepers were Scapuzzi and Mancini.Mancini had taken the defenders for some initial work and then they all got back together for a pass/move session which seemed to have emphasis on pressing the ball. The shout of "don't let him get his head up" gave credence to this. It was actually an interesting session with Platt and Gregucci positioned at each end of the field and used as targets for the "out" ball. It was only here I noticed Yaya was missing but he did come out and do some work with a physio and later get fully involved so I am sure there is nothing serious with him.The keepers were near me and one of the crossers helping out was relegated and Erik J asked to take on those duties. There was also a lone runner doing laps of a far pitch with a physio but I just couldn't work out who it was. A quick break for drinks and then into another passing game. Joe and Panti thought they were to be involved but I guess Mancini changed his mind.They spent their time knocking the ball too each other to improve their first touch.After that it was off to the middle pitch so I wandered round for a better view. As I passed the lone photographer he mentioned Mancini isn't looking very happy is he!!! It just seemed to me he will have taken a picture to reflect whatever he wanted and with the current press/media having a go again it will have had to be something negative. Typical garbage as I thought Mancini was enjoying the session and hearing him shouting well done on one occasion suggests all wasn't doom and gloom but photographers won't want happy positive pictures will they?This final session was all about organisation/shape and on a full sized pitch. After initial guidance from the boss it was into play mode but he stopped the game quite frequently to reinforce points or point out where they went wrong. One strong break as the winger was put free by a Lescott pass really tested Zaba sprinting back to his penalty area.Zaba got the block in and looked absolutely fine. It wasn't really a game as such as Mancini kept stopping it when he needed to but it was interesting to see the movement and passing where there was a little more space than usual. Even so Mancini was always able to see little things which he would point out. Meticulous as ever.One funny moment was when Vinnie was sliding across to make a good interception but the ball hit a cone and bobbled over his leg to leave the striker clear. Joe thought it was funny but maybe it's best I didn't hear what Vinnie said. A special mention from me for Kolo. He might not be as trim as he once was but I thought on Saturday he filled in and did well. Today also he was very good and for me he is a top pro and great to have on the squad.I would think Mancini will have enjoyed today's session. The first full week of training for ages and the only downside being a few players out and he used it to the full to work on plenty of things. Over 90 minutes as well and a rare occasion as nobody stayed for any extras, well it was getting dark!