Here comes the pain train. Matt Hughes of The Times claims to have some inside info on what's in store for Chelsea players this summer under Antonio Conte, who's starting work this week and will be unveiled officially on Thursday before flying out to Austria for the start of training camp.
It is understood that Conte's pre-season programme features lots of interval training over 200 metres, 400 metres and 800 metres, distances the players will be made to cover repeatedly, broken up by a short recovery, to improve their stamina and speed endurance. Only after these running drills have been completed will Conte get the ball out because he believes that the players need to hone their skills when fatigued.
[Conte] also places a great emphasis on strategy and will run extra tactical sessions for the players in the afternoon. The 46-year-old plans to continue doing two training sessions every day when the season starts next month and has told players they can expect limited days off.
We've heard many times before that Conte is a very hands-on coach, who will be out there personally overseeing every minute of training (unlike Guus Hiddink, for example, who left this mostly to Steve Holland). And as we've seen from his Italy and Juventus teams, it's obvious that his two main tenets are fitness and work-rate, with a heavy dose of strategy and tactics.
While the tactical sessions shouldn't anything they hadn't grown accustomed over the last few seasons, given the ball-first approach of Jose Mourinho, the boys are in for some big chances. But after a disastrous pre-season last year, it's probably exactly what's needed, to literally whip Chelsea back into shape.