Reading jetted off to Spain this week for some warm weather training in an attempt to turn around a run of results under Jaap Stam that has seen them slip to within four points of the Championship relegation zone.
Opinions are split on warm weather training camps – some people feel they reinvigorate the players and help them benefit from a change of scene while others feel they are something of a reward for poor performance.
Royals goalkeeper Vito Mannone has given his verdict on the Spain excursion and also explained a little more about what Stam’s men have been doing during their time away.
With no game this weekend because of FA Cup fixtures – Reading were knocked out by divisional rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the previous round – the Royals’ next game is next Tuesday against Nottingham Forest.
Mannone told the club’s official website: “These five days here are giving us a chance to work a bit harder, to regroup and to be together. It’s hard work every day.
“A training session in the morning and a gym session in the afternoon. Some time together in the evening and go again the next morning.
“We’ve been playing almost every three days since the beginning of the season, which doesn’t give us much chance to do the kind of sessions that we want to do.
“We try to squeeze them between the games but this trip gives us the chance to train on good pitches and with good facilities.
“We know we haven’t had the best of seasons but we know that we need to fight until the end to get as many points as possible. We’re not happy, fans aren’t happy… no-one is happy.
“This is the moment to take energy in and take on a workload, which will benefit us later on. We’re putting petrol in the tank and we’ll be ready to go again when we’re back in England.”
Mannone seems to be fairly clear that the trip has been primarily about fitness building and that is interesting at this stage of the season.
I might have expected some tactical work to be done or for Stam to use the trip to build morale – fitness work should be done before the season starts – but clearly the Royals see it differently.
Their fans will be hoping that whatever Stam is trying works, because right now they are dropping like a stone and it is hard to see where the next win is coming from.
Reading fans – let us know your thoughts below…