Update from Michael Valkanis

With the squad's first phase of pre-season training underway, Michael Valkanis outlines the plan for the duration of pre-season.

With the squad's first phase of pre-season training underway, Michael Valkanis outlines the plan for the duration of pre-season.

"Pre-season is broken up into 3 blocks. The first block lasts for 5 weeks and is more about conditioning and getting the players to a certain level by the time Josep arrives next month. The second block (8 weeks) is more about style, and the third block (4 weeks) is preparation for games and getting ready for start of season. For now it-s all about a football conditioning program, unlike the last two years which has been a lot more isolated. Now, conditioning the team is with the ball - everything with the ball.

We had our first testing this week, where we got some feedback to see where the players are at in this point in time. We will test again in 12 weeks to see how far they have come. We use testing as a guideline to see where they are at and where we can get them to.

The first 5 weeks of this program has been developed by our new conditioning coach Pau Marti. We put it together when he came here last month. We sat down for a week to figure out what the first 5 weeks has to look like and what work has to be done each day - all exercises done with the ball. As I said earlier, this is a lot different from the last two seasons. It-s also a little bit different from what we have learnt at coaching courses. At the coaching courses we learnt the football conditioning method done the Dutch way. This is more the Spanish method, and it-s interesting to see the way it works. It-s different, but a lot of the principles are the same - the Spanish have just taken it and made their own model.

When Josep comes he-ll implement his philosophy and the style of football he wants played. They-ll start at the beginning with the basics of how he wants the game to be played. At the moment it-s about using football methodologies to get fit in 5 weeks. It-s a long pre-season so for now it-s about getting fit. It-s not like you have to rush into it and get them running hard like they used to 10 or 20 years ago. We will slowly implement a program to get the players fit through playing football.

In the second block, the next 8 weeks will be a continuation of the first block, but the methodologies of training will be about the style, with every exercise specific to the style of play - again, all with the ball. So when Josep gets here for the start of the second block, the players will already have a good feel for the ball."