Exposure to match intensity key to Premier League restart - insists former City fitness coach

PUBLISHED: 06:00 13 June 2020

Mario Vrancic scored against Spurs in the Premier League in December and repeated the trick in a friendly on Friday 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Mario Vrancic scored against Spurs in the Premier League in December and repeated the trick in a friendly on Friday Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Friendly matches are crucial to teams being ready for the restart of Premier League battle, according to Norwich City’s former head of sports science Dave Carolan.

The Canaries ramped up their preparations with a trip to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Friday, with Daniel Farke’s men winning 2-1 in North London.

The fixture was divided into four segments, with both coaches experimenting with young players and different tactical systems.

Erik Lamela gave Spurs the lead, but Josip Drmic converted a Joshua Martin cross to equalise before Mario Vrancic scored the winner from a fine free-kick.

Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko all featured for the hosts, but City struck twice late on to record victory.

Dave Carolan spent 10 years at Norwich City in the sports science department Picture: Steve AdamsDave Carolan spent 10 years at Norwich City in the sports science department Picture: Steve Adams

The Bundesliga decided against permitting their sides to have warm-up games prior to resuming their season last month, with clubs now recording a high amount of injured players, giving English clubs cause for concern.

Dave Carolan, who worked at Carrow Road for 10 years as head of sports science, believes warm-up matches are the best method to prepare for the Premier League’s resumption.

“That’s something I think all teams have tried to do as soon as possible. In my role advising and consulting with Millwall, it’s something we looked at early.

“From the start we said, how do we get to a games programme or get to as close to games intensity within training as soon as possible?”

The Canaries returned to training last month, but have subsequently played an intra-squad friendly at Carrow Road prior to their trip to Spurs.

City restart their top-flight campaign against Southampton at Carrow Road next Friday, and Carolan says exposing players to the intensity of matches will give Farke’s squad the best possible preparation.

“Norwich will have done the same thing and I know they had lined up a number of friendlies and that’s really the only thing that’s going to allow you to prepare.

“Of course, there’s the risks of going into games very soon but you’re damned if you do and you’re certainly damned if you don’t prepare by giving the players exposure to the duration and intensity of game play.”

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