"I always ask my staff whether we can get the group of players we are working with fitter than they currently are, yes of course we can and then we look at the best ways of doing that. We have a training programme structured in such a way that we now physically demand more out of the players, so it is fitness combined with their technical ability with the ball. We disguise how much we are looking to get out of the sessions so the players don’t actually realise just hard they are working or running and they obviously get an enjoyment factor out of that because they are playing with the ball and at the same time reaching the fitness levels we are looking for.
"Those demands have been constant since my new backroom staff have come in and slowly we have changed things for the group of players. We have looked at the players we have here and spoken to them individually to say what we expect from them and we are sensible enough to realise some will take longer than others but we will look at our targets being reached sooner rather than later to make it better for the club."
In the closing months of winter the boss felt that the squad getting some sun on their backs with warm weather training during a break in the fixtures proved key to them going on and picking up five wins and a draw in their last seven outings.
"As a group we are here to win first and foremost and a winning mentality lifts the whole place and by that I mean everyone that works here, not just the players and management. There have been different elements of what we have done since I came in but I think the biggest contribution would have been taking the team to Morocco to get them outside in the warm temperatures, which helped their vitamin D levels and it gave them an opportunity to rest physically and mentally which meant they came back fresher after that time away to start fighting our way out of trouble.
"This trip along with other slight changes, we have changed training times, feedback we give the group and the different type of match analysis we give them all contribute towards our change around in form and the points haul which have made the group happier and helped the players play with more confidence.
"Players at this level need to be really good psychologically and they need to draw out their best performances because how each one performs comes from between their ears, that’s where it starts and then all the physical and tactical effort all comes from around that to deliver it the best way he can. A player in a better frame of mind psychologically will make better decisions and then give better performances."
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