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By Doug Higginbottom, Mon 17 October 2011 12:07
Cold and a bit windy today and you could tell by the amount of extra clothing the players were wearing. Good to see Micah out taking a full part as was Aguero. As they were all gathering Hargreaves was noticeable as ever doing plenty of early stretching and jogging to loosen up. Mancini's first decision was to take the main squad away to the middle pitch just as all the cameras came out for the usual Euro filming/picture session. Seemed quite funny that there were so many cameras wanting pictures and they all just trooped off.Mancini got the 17 players all together around the middle for the initial chat before some work on positioning and then some defensive stuff from corners/free kicks. While this was going on it seemed the players were as intent on keeping warm as anything else. Then it was back over for the cameras to click away as they did keep ball circle stuff. Plenty of fun and laughter which should make it's way onto SSN.The cameras left (not the ones behind the fence near me) and they got down to some serious work. One touch passing games followed by 2 touch, switching from big goals to small goals. Nice moment when Micah thought he had headed home and was wheeling a way only for Savic to pop up and clear it off the line. 2 goals from Edin, one a blaster and then a calm roll into the tiny nets.They then split into two groups for a fitness routine. Watching them go through to completely different routines made me think about the fitness stuff they do. It isn't usually strenuous stuff and no doubt they do tougher stuff inside but (touch wood) we have got a fully fit squad and it has to reflect well on the backroom fitness staff.Then onto a game and here Hargreaves and Razak missed out. The boss had quite a chat with Hargreaves before the game but I didn't see a sign of any injury so maybe just a precaution. Although the game was competitive I didn't sense the same intensity as there can be. Even the odd challenge which was pulled out of which of course is no surprise with no shin pads. Aguero was fully involved which was good to see and it was the game which confirmed how windy it was. Long balls and crosses were clearly affected.Panto saved superbly from a Mario shot but there were not too many chances or close things but then it got a little heated. Only bacause of a refereeing decision which baffled them all. I hadnt a clue what was given or why but Fausto from then on got all sorts of stick. From Nigel especially and Joe very light heartedly but for a while they were almost all having a go. Eventually a goal came and it was Barry with quick feet and a well placed close range shot. And that was about that as Mancini called for it all to end.The main attacking group (6 of them) stayed out with Mancini for a while as he worked them through some moves seemingly designed to unlock tight defences. Exciting if all 6 played at the same time but somehow I think not:) A few little groups of fans came along today and somehow seemed surprised there were any fences up! Almost a few less after they had tried to climb them to watch only to find they don't take the weight very well.