AC Milan are currently in Austria as their preparations ahead of the new season have stepped up a gear, but what exactly is being worked on?
The concept of a preseason retreat to really concentrate efforts on getting into the best condition is nothing new, but few details are known about what actually goes on at these camps. La Gazzetta dello Sport have highlighted seven key elements of Milan’s work.
Games: Pioli alternates hard work with games to raise the spirits, such as tennis with a football and a game in which everyone must – on the coach’s whistle – run to a certain marker, with the last on there having to complete a push-up session.
Risks: Admittedly with the preseason friendlies and even training sessions, there are some risks. Rafael Leao for example took a tumble and it was a relief to see him get back up and running, while Theo Hernandez took a knock on his ankle but seems to be ok.
Climate: Villach is high in terms of altitude and temperature (around 30 degrees celsius), so Milan are training at 10:30pm and 17:30pm, when you can actually breathe.
Experiments: Pioli remains very attached to last year’s 4-2-3-1, but in the FC Köln and Zalaegerszegi games, tactical variations were seen. Bakayoko together with Tonali was tried as a pivot, just as Brahim Diaz was tried as a right winger, and Adli in various roles.
Roles: Leadership is a serious matter and it is during these camps that the hierarchy becomes clear. Alessandro Florenzi talks and jokes more than anyone, takes part in all games and never wants to lose. Mike Maignan talks a lot in the games, while Rafael Leao jokes and shows a general positive attitude.
Recovery: The Austrian town is also not a bad place to keep recovery going. Tommaso Pobega is working alone to recover from muscle strain in his thigh, while Divock Origi and Simon Kjaer instead are on the pitch but are working individually, with the hope of playing some minutes soon.
Team building: There are billiards, tennis and horse riding on offer at their hotel but there is no time. On the first day the group all went cycling together with Olivier Giroud first at the finish line, while today paintball is scheduled as long as it doesn’t rain.