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By Doug Higginbottom, Thu 01 November 2012 14:29
3rd day in a row and still Friday to come. I arrived to hear Brain Kidd trying to teach Gregucci some english slang. Quite funny with Fausto joining in. As they all gathered Maicon was out doing some jogging (first time outside I think) and also Rodders out again. A very happy sounding bunch all gathered for the usual pre training briefing from the boss but a little extended and different today as he took players from the group and positioned them in formation leaving the rest around the center circle. Then a brief kick around in pairs. Nearest to me were Kun and Carlos, one using only his left foot and the other only playing volleys.From there Mancini spent time talking with the whole group and I guess it was all about tactical aspects of the formation, can't really hear from 100 yards! It was a slightly different start and followed by a keep ball session but just the one around the center circle with 3 in the middle. There were 17 on show today plus 4 keepers. Zaba was clattered once but typically just got up smiling but the work on the first touch and controlled short passing was the emphasis.Then Mancini took a team away to do preparation work for the weekend game and brought the 2 keepers over. Joe to go in nets and Panti to play up front against our defenders!! Can't think why :) The rest of the group stayed near me to distract me from what was going on and they did a good job too as they were having plenty of fun. Mancini was clearly well prepared for today as part of the preparation and if he was serious after the Ajax game about not preparing well enough he wasn't going to do the same again here.This session was a longer one than usual with Mancini being very meticulous as ever and spending time player by player about their duties at corners and free kicks and using Panti and a bunch of coaches as the opposition making runs. Fun to watch Massive in an attacking role! Once he had gone through all his work with the team he changed the personnel and went through it all again.The keep ball circle with those not in the Mancini work at the time kept going on to keep me entertained. Barry nutmegged twice in one routine brought the house down. Kolarov taking over the counting of how many passes there were and interestingly missing plenty of numbers out along the way, Sinclair counting in Spanish, Garcia playing with a constant smile as basically they all were. Zaba really does come across as a team favourite and we already know he is a fans fave.No game at the end today and overall not much on the physical or running side today. That was done in the previous 2 days and all the emphasis today and maybe tomorrow on the next match. Here's hoping it all pays dividends.