Player Valuation: £40m
This is a rare candid interview from Napoli’s coaching staff with Il Napolista. We couldn’t miss it.
A good read, in my opinion and a really logical approach to training. Parts I found interesting:
Mauri once trained the man many consider to be the greatest worker of them all, Cristiano Ronaldo, in his time at Real. After one particular tough training session, Mauri took note of Ronaldo’s favoured proverb at the time: “Too much water kills the plants.”
“And he was right,” said Mauri to Il Napolista. “Even physical work is now emphasised as though it’s meant to be done with a ball. But it’s important to develop both athletic and tactical skills in a player, to marry their physical targets with each training session.”...Mauri doesn’t emphasise training with a ball and ‘making things fun’, contrary to the in-vogue training of today, but instead looks to adapt each training session to a player’s individual needs so as to make it personally stimulating for them. In effect, the goal is for players to find the desire to train themselves...“It’s hard to get across the idea that the most important thing is to work well, not work more. It’s the quality of work that makes all the difference. The volume of work done is inversely proportionate to the quality of that very same workload.”...The overall aim is to treat players like adults who want to better themselves, not troops who show up and await orders at bootcamp. Mauri claims a lot of marrying physical education with tactics training is owed to the Portuguese school of thought. “Queiroz was the first to talk about tactics in this way.”
“The major thinking behind our method is essential to a team playing out Ancelotti’s ideas, whether that team be Napoli, Bayern or Real Madrid. They will always have more or less the same approach to the game. That is to run less than their opponents over the total distance of a match, 80% of the time. At Napoli that 80% has become 70 or 65%, so even less than at Bayern or Real. But as far as high-intensity and very-high intensity running goes, this Napoli team is one that sprints more than the opponent 80% of the time.”
“[When looking at the individual data of Napoli players] we’re talking about a team that doesn’t have drops in the second half. That’s only been pegged back twice and, on the other hand, has fought back from behind in matches more often. That’s never suffered from cramp except for Mario Rui against Milan, but he was coming back from injury.
The feeling here, supported by the numbers, is we close out games as the fresher side. We believe that the less energy the side spends in winning games, the better. We prefer a player runs less and achieves his pre-determined objectives all the same. He recovers from games much faster, and puts less stress on his body. The same goes for training, not just the games. One saying that’s followed me around since I was a kid was my father’s: Why spend 50 euros for a coffee if you can pay 1 euro? That’s a key saying in our world.”
“There’s a work to be done before and after the session on the training pitch, that we consider fundamental. The training pitch session lasts one hour and fifteen minutes, the longest it’s been is an hour and twenty minutes. We don’t do double training sessions, because each session is done as if it were a double.”
“The player arrives to training at 9-9.30, has breakfast and starts his warm-up routine. He goes to the physiotherapist, especially if he needs some tape or some other kind of treatment. After which there’s a preparation phase in the gym. That preparation phase is something we’ve worked on a lot. In Italy, there’s this idea that I have to make you work as your physical trainer. On the contrary, we’ve looked to - and we’ve done very well here - put the responsibility on the player. We make them understand what was important for their conditioning.”
“Each player had a personalised schedule for preventative training; a schedule that obviously changes through each phase of the season, along with their injuries, et cetera. Those schedules are posted up in the gym and, every morning, we are there as a couple in the gym guiding each player through his own exercises. If at the beginning we had to insist a little to get them into the habit, now we’re almost in need of an extra member of staff to manage the entire group. Because they’re all happy, all ready and all of them come into training every day.”
“Why do they come in? Because they’ve understood there’s a use in it for them to put in this kind of work. The same changes happened at the end of training sessions.