Michael Ball says that the week-long training camp in Sweden has been invaluable on more than one front.
The left back, who penned a new two year contract with the Blues just after the squad reconvened at the start of July, has been on many a pre-season tour since his career started at Everton, so does he see a trip like this vital for team bonding or performances?
Michael says: “It is a bit of both, but the main thing is to get yourself as close to match fitness as possible. You also get the chance to play in the style that your manager wants and the tactics that he likes to play.
“Players can get 45 to 60 minutes of a match to get the fitness up, and also with the new players coming in it’s a good time to bond because you’re with people 24/7 and you get to spend more time with them than you would at Carrington.”
City’s training regime has included getting the players to jump in and out of a long jump pit from a standing start in as few attempts as possible, and looking back at how pre-season has changed during his time as a player, the 27-year-old adds:
“45 minute runs are out of the window now, but we have a new fitness coach in addition to Jon Webb and they are picking each other’s brains on certain styles of running.
“It’s a lot more football based but you want to be fit enough to finish 90 minutes and feel stronger. That’s what we’ve been working on, so with Sven coming in and showing us things tactics-wise there’s been a bit of both since we came back into training, both at Carrington and in Sweden.”