Just as Zdenek Zeman is very important to Roma and the development of our players, I strongly believe that it's the coaching staff that is vitally important to the club's success. The backroom staff are more often than not kept in the shadows and asked to do all the dirty work while the manager and players get the adulation of supporters.
It was very heartening to see the club put these guys in front today by unveiling them at a press conference and this is what they had to say regarding the preparations and what they intend to bring to Roma.
Vincenzo Cangelosi (Assistant Manager) : "I started working with Zeman in 1989 at Foggia and I've been with him ever since, apart from the year he spent working in Turkey. I couldn't go for family reasons."
Roberto Ferola (Fitness Coach) : "My first experience in professional football began in 1988 when I worked under Giuseppe Materazzi at Lazio and I stayed for many years in the capital. When Zeman was at Roma I was at Modena, after which I've followed him wherever he's been. Last season I was at Pescara."
Giacomo Modica (First-team Technical Collaborator) : "I had Zeman as a coach when I was a player, beginning with the Palermo Primavera side. I then moved to Licata and Messina. In 2000 when I stopped playing, I began working with him in Turkey, before following him to Salerno, Napoli, Avellino and Brescia. We spent 6 years apart and now I'm lucky enough to be back with him at Roma."
Any work in training - be it fitness exercies, or relating to technique or tactics - is always prepared by Zeman himself. We carry out his instructions, our programme goes hand in hand with what the coach asks of the players on the pitch. What we'll do over the coming days is some basic work to bring all the players up the same fitness levels, to create the basis upon which the coach can work week to week. We do have a standard way of working, but we can alter things depending on the circumstances, as happened with the rain this morning. When will we begin ball-work in training? We start later this afternoon.
It makes sense that the fitness work is geared towards our commitments in the USA, beginning on 22 July. Although they are all friendlies, we'll still take them seriously. We are AS Roma, we're a big club. The second part of training camp? The club are working on that and will release the dates as soon as they are finalised.
We're going to analyse our work over the whole period, rather than looking at it as two phases. We will almost always have double training sessions, with fitness work in the morning and tactics and technical work in the afternoon. As time wears on we will also intensify our fitness work. The work we're doing now aims to give the lads a fitness level which will see them through the entire season. We prioritise exercises using bodyweight rather than work in the gym. We want to avoid too much machine work in the gym. Totti? He's more mature after 13 years, but he certainly hasn't lost his enjoyment of the game. How is he physically? He's ready to train and that's the most important thing.
The nutritional programme has been developed with Doctor Angelini. The players eat very well, in moderation, and with a balanced diet which is tailor-made for professional athletes. We've done tests to check the constitution of each player. The players have their choice of vegetables, a starter, main, and fruit. The food will vary during the day, to ensure a balanced diet that is in line with the work done on the training ground.
The players are very fit. Before the start of the season we gave them each an individual work-out plan and we can tell they all followed it. They are real professionals. Were some players fitter than others? It's only the second day, it's too early to say.
We shouldn't talk in terms of risks when it comes to pre-season training but in terms of adaptation. Every player will need to adapt to the workload required of them, that's absolutely normal. Of course the players do have a few physical complaints here and there, but again that's normal. There are no risks.
Has Zeman changed at all? Fundamentally no, but he has polished a few things. It's not a coincidence that people still say he's a modern coach, even though he started 30 years ago. He always introduces new ideas, thanks to his vast experience. He's a coach who always offers different approaches. What are the differences compared to his first spell at Roma? It's hard to say at the moment, we've only just started.
This period is the same for all the players, regardless of their position. Later the goalkeepers will go and work on specific things. They will still be considered part of the squad, they still need to know how the team moves and will move on the pitch, although they will have their own set area and specific training based on what the coach asks us to work on. Our current goalkeepers in the squad? We'll form an opinion on them once we get to know them better.
Quick Bits :
- Alessandro Florenzi's return to Rome is finally official. Cannot wait to see this boy in action.
- Fredrico Viviani has been loaned out to Padova who have been given an option to co-own him for €1.8 million but for once Roma have learned their lesson by inserting a "right of first refusal" clause so they don't end up making the same mistake as they did with Caprari and Florenzi.
- Welcome to Zeman's world
- Riposa in Pace Ciro Di Martino