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Thursday, 4 February 2016

Pochettino using squad rotation to maintain freshness

It has been somwhat overlooked how well Mauricio Pochettino is using the squad. Every player is analysed and their fatigue levels are recorded so the coaching staff know who is entering the red danger zone needs a rest. The red danger zone is when a player is felt to be in need of a break to stave off the threat of an injury. 

Different positions produce different levels of stress, our full-backs for instance are rotated to give them all a rest as they have to continually run the length of the field. It is a precautionary measure when they are changed and shows the need to have two players who can play equally as well in the position, as opposed to one and one understudy.

Hugo Lloris in goal for instance doesn't have the workload of other players and while Harry Kane may be a lone striker, he gets periods of rest during a game when we are defending our own box. The club will know exactly where they stand with his fitness levels, everything is analysed in minute detail today.

Minutes Played 2015/16
Eric Dier 2,833
Toby Alderweirield 2,790
Harry Kane 2,648
Hugo Lloris 2,610
Jan Vertonghen 2,415
Christian Eriksen 2.365
Dele Alli 2,062
Kyle Walker 1,972
Eric Lamela 1,929
Ben Davies 1,538
Danny Rose 1,522
Mousa Dembele 1,500
Son Heung-min 1,145
Nacer Chadli 1,129
Kieran Trippier 1,083
Tom Carroll 947
Kevin Wimmer 645
Ryan Mason 636
Michel Vorm 450
Nabil Bentaleb 417
Clinton Njie 359
Josh Onomah 251

Nobody is talking about Toby Alderweireld needing a rest or Eric Dier, indeed Dier has stood in for Alderweireld to let him have some time off, but both have played more than Harry Kane. It should be noted that these figures include all games including pre-season when players were perhaps not at full throttle. For instance there is 162 minutes for Harry Kane that is pre-season and Son Heung-min wasn't with us for the first six games.

You can see from the table that danny Rose and Ben Davies have played virtually the same number of mintes, hiughlighting the squad rotation. Neither is being favoured. A player like Erik lamela has played nearly 2,000 minutes and at the moment is going through a rest period, rather than being dropped. he played 73 minutes vs Sunderland, 60 minutes vs Leicester City in the FA Cup, was an unused sub against Crystal Palace, played 56 minutes vs Colchester United, again in the FA Cup and just 1 minute against Norwich City.

It isn't that he is out of favour, just that there are fresh legs to come in, Son has been injured and is now available. You'll note that Dele Alli is being taken off in games as is Christian Eriksen, all to reduce fatigue and rotate the worload.

When he arrived Pochettino said the squad was too big, he wanted a smaller squad to work with. The idea being that every member of that squad could then feel impoortant, they could feel they were a part of something and not just a pasenger in case of emergency.

That places them in the right frame of mind to be motivated and talking to them about fatigue and squad rotation, as opposd to the bland, you'll get your chance speach, means they know they have a role to play and can stay focussed and motivated. Being in a squad where everyone else is playing and you are not is hardly going to build a player up. 

It is up to the player to train knowing this so any going through the motions will tell the coach you are not sufficiently motivated and therefore not much use tio him. Remember lasting motivation, the motivation that makes you work your best in training everyday comes from within, it doesn't largely come from the coach. He can do his part by making it fun and enjoyable, but if the player doesn't want to buy into the role mapped out for him he can either work harder to improve his game to suit the head coach or leave.

I think within commentating circles there is far to much talk of first choice and players being dropped, that simply shows they are living in the past with outdated ideas. The game is a squad game and it is how you use yiour squad through out a season that will have a huge impact on how you get on.

Pochettino is doin a fine job in this respect, a fine job overall. he is the man Daniel Levy has been searching for and justify's turning over managers until we found the right fit for the club strategy. There is no point keeping someone who isn't going to be able to do what you want and you never know that until they are in place and operating. 

Would you replace him with Louis van Gaal now, the man who thankfully turned us down?



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