Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti has a plan to battle his pre-season doubts
The Italian has found support from Pintus, the physical coach, who has focussed on getting the players fit before the season.
It is often said that mitigating weaknesses is as important as taking advantage of the strengths you have, and this is how things are in Madrid. Carlo Ancelotti, the thinker, along with Pintus, the physical coach, have both put together a plan to get rid of the doubts that have crept in during pre-season.
Oxygen masks, races and running shoes have been part of the setup this week after Ancelotti gave his side a short time off; the footballs have been kept in the bag after a long series of physical fitness sessions.
Ancelotti’s idea is to put to bed any worries over defensive frailties that were seen on the tour of the USA, where they conceded 8 goals in 4 games.
Ancelotti is prioritising physical work over tactics
“We lacked balance and we need to fix it”, said Carlo after the defeat to Juventus. The tactics folder for his new 4-3-1-2 at Madrid needs reviewing and there is lot of work to be done regarding the system and its issues, but Ancelotti knows that they won’t be solved in seven days. Therefore, the last week of pre-season ahead of the league debut against Athletic Club at San Mamés has been largely physical instead: the priority is doing well what he knows how to do quickly.
Against Barcelona, Xavi recognised that “Madrid have the most physical squad in the world” - and he is not the only one. Ancelotti knows what he has at his disposal and he will use their physical qualities to get the best result in the Basque Country.
With that in mind, the oxygen masks returned at the Real Madrid training camp. The masks allow the technical staff to measure output and detect the maximum volume of oxygen that the players use when being under physical stress. For Madrid, they are seen as a very useful tool when it comes to delegating work and planning specialised training schemes for the players.
Pintus ‘is killing us’
The infamous physical coach, Pintus, has returned this summer, a man who Militão joked “was not a good person” in Los Angeles; “he’s killing us”, said Valverde, shortly before. Pintus’ work has definitely had an effect during pre-season training, but the long timetable of flights, games and recovery, have made the scheduling somewhat difficult.
This is why the technical staff have gone back to more physical work now the team is back in Madrid ahead of the first game of LaLiga. Ancelotti wants to take advantage of the continuity the Madrid squad have seen this summer and get on the front foot in terms of physical output. The four-day mega-physical pre-season plan at the training ground has taken over tactics as the Italian coach gets ready to go all-out in Bilbao.