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By Doug Higginbottom, Fri 27 September 2013 10:02
Warm and dry today for a change and decent viewing as they were using the pitch at the Sale Sharks side.Again the EDS and under 18's were at Carrington at the same time which seems a good idea and obviously what will happen at the new complex.The coaches were already out measuring and marking areas for the planned work.Very meticulous stuff.
When the players came out it was more or less in one big group rather than the dribs and drabs of past times and one of the players had a massive bandage on his knee/leg.All into the usual manager briefing before a few went off for individual work leaving 18 plus 3 keepers out for the session.Marcos Lopes was included.All the usual jogs and warm ups followed which ended with a couple of keep ball circles.Micah sounded quite pleased as his group got to 32 completed passes.That's based on his counting anyway.
Then off to play a pass/move/pressing game in two teams on a marked smallish pitch.Not sure what rules there were but on a couple of occasions the "losing" team had to do press ups.After this almost all the team from Tuesday went inside leaving enough for some attack against defence work.A good strong session too.Pellegrini does more work like this than RM did where there is a defence in place rather than just doing shadow plays.
Initially it was a 2 v 2 situation with the ball coming in from wide either high or low and great emphasis placed on good sharp movement from the attackers to find space and from that goalscoring situations.Never easy when one of the defenders is Vinnie who is very uncompromising as we all know.Saying that it must be a nightmare trying to stop Samir with his ability to twist and turn but stay in full control all the time.
Navas marked by Kolarov was always going to be interesting and I have to say Aleks was pretty good.Navas does cross a great ball though and hopefully his ability will raise the bar for the rest as we have never been a top crossing side..Best goal in this session was from Negredo and I have no doubt we will see one in a match soon where he puts in in the top corner curling in from outside the post.
This session moved onto 3v3 and then 4v4 but was always a tight intense affair and closely watched by Pellegrini and his assistant.That ended and they went into a 5 a side game on a small pitch prepared earlier.As you would expect there were plenty of goals with just one man scoring a hat trick and every outfield player scoring at least one in a game that ended 7.5.No quarter given in this game either. Panti took some blows blocking point blank shots,Joe showed as ever how quick off the line he can be,Vinnie screaming at one point as he slightly overhit a pass.They all finished knackered and sat in a group with the coaches having a chat as I moved around to see the EDS in action.
Not for long but enough to see Pozo back in full training and Alex Henshall back with the group (did he finish at Chesterfield or get an injury?) Just one goal while I watched this and a nice header too from Bytyqi from a Cole cross.That as it for me but as I left and all the outfield players had gone in Joe and Panti were still hard at it.An enjoyable watch today but I was knackered as well