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By Doug Higginbottom, Wed 16 January 2013 15:04
Not exactly warm today but the undersoil heating did it's job and there were two pitches available to use. Firstly congratulations to whoever for finally sorting the netting out to stop photographers getting easy pictures on the 2 pitches nearest the changing rooms. There have been gaps for ever which have been shut off at least (shame they can still get longer distance ones from the swamp side).The best news though was seeing Aguero in full training and with Rodwell alongside him. No Maicon yet although he was out running when I arrived. As the 20 players congregated it was noticeable one player was in shorts. No prizes for guessing and he only had short socks as well! When they got closer one of the young ones was in shorts as well but at least he had long socks. Boyata and Suarez were there at the start again and Lopes came over later for the final game.Nothing special in the warm ups as they broke into two groups but after a the initial stuff most carried on doing exercise routines while the 2 strikers worked separately with Mancini. Looked like he was focusing on working off each other. Then it was into a game situation as 2 keepers came over, Lawlor and Wright on this occasion. I don't think any goals were scored in what was a very short 5 minute game but I had to break off to throw balls back which had come over from the keeper session.So after the 5 minute game most came over for more exercise routines while Mancini again took the strikers plus 2 midfield players for more special work on their interplay. Then back again for a 5 minute game where Edin hit the post with a low cross shot and Barry tapped in after a Garcia shot had been saved. 5 minutes was up and back for more exercises and Mancini working with the strikers plus 2 other midfield players.Another goal and this time a top team goal with Carlos ultimately feeding Edin for an easy finish. From behind a curtain it's not easy to see every detail but Kun looked ok and took one heavy challenge with no problems. I couldn't say if he is ready for Saturday and will wait to see what RM says in the pre match press conference. Rodders also looked fine but I am sure he will need more training sessions before he gets back into games.Drinks then followed by another match of sorts and that's where Lopes came to make up numbers as Kun rested. Mancini took a long time talking to the teams before this started as he was clearly looking for specific things in the "game" and on a few occasions he did stop play to talk more. He remains a meticulous coach who knows what he wants and this game was not just about a free for all.Mario nicked a ball from a defender to score by taking the ball past the keeper and I think that was the only goal but there was plenty of good play and passing. A good session in the freezing conditions, everyone in top spirits on Zaba's birthday.