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'It's all in their heads'
IF Swindon Town’s players can adapt mentally to the gruelling challenge of a pre-season tour to Italy under Paolo Di Canio, their manager is convinced they will have nothing to fear when it comes to the rigours of a League One campaign.
The Robins jet off to Lake Garda tomorrow for two weeks of intense fitness and conditioning work, with a small dose of football thrown in, in the rustic idyll of northern Italy.
Di Canio feels the coming fortnight could be the making of a team capable of pushing for back to back promotions next term, but only if they employ the right attitude in training.
He said: “For some of them it will be more mentally difficult than physically. They are athletes, you can see that they are all physically strong. The problem is all in their heads, it’s all in there.
“If they understand this, in one month or 45 days they will feel absolutely full of energy and you can imagine, with their talent, everybody has to be worried.”
Di Canio stressed that the emphasis of Town’s two-week stay in the Veneto region of his native country will be on stamina rather than skill, as he looks to move away from what he sees as an inherent flaw in English pre-season training.
“It’s typical in England in general you don’t spend a lot of time and a lot of days running without the ball,” he said. “It’s difficult but to reach some targets you want to get to you can’t work only with the ball.
“The new way to work in modern football is 80 per cent of the time during pre-season with the ball, but what we want is to let them become really fit.
“Aerobic, anaerobic, resistance, strength and speed - you can do this only if you have distance and time to cover, otherwise it’s difficult.”
And Di Canio told the seven new players he has signed this summer that this could be their toughest pre-season yet.
“It’s a hard job under me and under us because the pre-season is a bit harder,” he said. “Tommy (Miller) has already told me he has many experiences at this level but maybe James (Collins) I don’t know, I don’t think so - especially Troy (Archibald-Henville) and a few others.”
- Don’t miss our comprehensive coverage of all things Swindon Town over the course of the next fortnight - in your Adver six days a week, on our website www.thisisstfc.co.uk every day and via Twitter, where you can follow me by typing @SamMorshead_SA into the search bar.
We’ll have all the latest from the Robins camp, including player interviews, a daily diary and extensive match reports from Town’s two scheduled fixtures during their fortnight in Lake Garda.