Gross: Training camp is perfect preparation for final

By SFC Media time Fri 17 Feb Alek Gross
Photo by Matt Watson | Alek Gross

Ahead of Southampton's upcoming training camp, we sat down with Head of Sports Science Alek Gross to discuss the benefits of the trip ahead of the EFL Cup final.

Can you tell us the reasons behind going on this trip away?

There are really three main benefits to going away. We’ve had a few new additions recently, so it’ll be good to spend some time together because essentially it’s a new group.

Secondly, it’s a good time to get away from the bubble of being in Southampton and get away from that to focus on ourselves and what we need to achieve what we want. We’re definitely going there to train hard.

Finally, the facilities are great, the pitches are good and we’re well out of the way, so we won’t be disturbed. It’s an opportunity for the team to get together, get our work done and focus on the task at hand.

The team have played a lot of games already this season, but had a few days off after the win at Sunderland. How important was that, and how will that impact on your plans for the trip away?

It’s been a long slog since the start of the season. We’ve had games every three days and we’ve not really had the opportunity to prepare outside of this environment. It’s an opportunity to focus on the job at hand. It’s a nice lead in.

We’re not in the FA Cup which is disappointing, but it does allow us the opportunity to refresh with a few days off and then go into this camp to get a lot of our physical work done this week.

Players take part in a fitness drill during a Southampton FC training session at the Staplewood Campus, Southampton, 16th February 2017
Saints are put through their paces by Alek Gross

When we come back to Staplewood next week we can focus on the finishing touches tactically heading into that game.

The reason they had the days off is because we’ve had a real solid run of days on feet, so it’s that opportunity to give bodies and minds a rest, but going away and being in a training camp means there are no distractions. They’ll work hard throughout the week.

You’ll be together at all times on the trip. Is that another important factor in the build-up to such a big game?

It’s a good opportunity to have meetings around tactics and the way we’ll set up. It’s not always about on-field work. There is that opportunity to focus on the job at hand and nail down those plans before the big game.

Could this trip be of real benefit to the squad for the EFL Cup final?

It’s a bit of a siege mentality in terms of ‘we’re going to go and get this job done’. Obviously we need the support of everyone around us when we’re here, but there is that element of looking after ourselves and working hard to ensure we’re as prepared as we can be to win at Wembley.

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