Ryan Sessegnon has admitted that, in comparison to previous regimes at Spurs, Antonio Conte and his coaching staff push the players much harder during training and also get into a lot more tactical detail.
The fitness work that Conte and his coaching staff put the players through during preseason was well-documented (Daily Mail) but Sessegnon has now revealed that every single training session at Spurs is extremely demanding.
The left-back told The Sun: “The other managers I’ve had at Spurs have been a bit more chilled with training. With this gaffer, even if we’re doing tactical stuff, it’s still physically hard.
“The longer runs, the hard distances – eight or nine km runs in training three days before games. It’s hard but your body adapts. Then when you’re on the pitch it benefits you. I feel the whole team is stronger, can go stronger than other teams.”
Sessegnon was injured for a sizable chunk of last season and he explained that he still had to sit through tactical sessions even when he was sidelined.
The England Under-21 international said: “He (Conte) makes the injured players watch the tactical sessions and I was the first to sit aside and watch the way he wants us to play.
“Then you go and do your physical stuff. They are long days. As a team, I don’t think we were really fit and he made us run a lot. I knew when I came back that I had to be ready for the levels.”
Tottenham’s fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, known as ‘The Marine’, has built a reputation over his career for pushing players to their absolute limit and beyond.
Sessegnon described the 62-year-old as a ‘killer’ and also shed light on the work he put in during pre-season to help his body cope with the demands of the campaign.
When asked about Ventrone, he said: “Obviously, (Ventrone) is very good. But he’s a killer, seriously. Very intense. The more physical players, where he knows he can push you, he will be on you. My work in the off-season was to make my body more robust.
“My body can handle it a bit more when I’m fatigued now. That was mainly the reason I went away, to build that core strength around the body.
“From a fitness point of view, I am where I want to be, Touch wood it (stays) all good. I feel good in my body. With my performances, I’m doing well but still have a few more gears.
The former Fulham man even asserted that this was the first time since his switch to Tottenham in 2019 that he knows exactly what to do with and without the ball at each moment.
“The gaffer is very detailed”, Sessegnon said.
“We have a lot of tactical meetings and sessions. He is very clear on what he wants. It’s probably the first time in my Spurs career that I know what to do with and without the ball in a situation where the formation is clear.”
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That role clarity that Sessegnon mentions in the final part of the interview, is what perhaps separates Conte from other coaches.
The Italian’s system is completely reliant on automatisms rather than on allowing individuals to solve problems on the pitch, as Ancelotti does.
That is why it can sometimes be difficult to adapt for players like Bissouma, who are at their best when they are given the freedom to express themselves.
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