Spurs star doubts there will be any teams fitter than them in the PL this season

Matt Doherty
Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Matt Doherty has declared there will not be any team in the Premier League fitter than Tottenham during the upcoming season.

Antonio Conte and his coaching staff have certainly been working the Spurs squad extremely hard in South Korea over the last few days.

In fact, the players were reportedly made to run 42 lengths of the pitch at the end of a 90-minute training session in the 30C heat of Seoul on Sunday (Daily Mail).

Some pundits have questioned whether the players are being pushed too hard by the Italian (ESPN FC) while some journalists have suggested it was done to potentially send a message to the outside world (The Athletic).

However, Doherty has now explained that the gruelling session on Sunday was no different to what the squad have gone through so far during pre-season.

When asked about Sunday’s session, he told Football.London: “Yeah, [they’re] pretty normal. Even the week before in London was along those lines so I don’t know if there will be any teams fitter than us. It’s not like anything I’ve done before.

“This is hard. It’s the hardest pre-season I’ve had. You get a great satisfaction once the session is over. Your mind has been tortured in the middle of it but when it’s done you feel proud and you got to bed at night time thinking ‘yeah, I’ve worked hard today’.

“During it you’re just thinking don’t quit. Even if you crawl over the line or you have to jog or walk towards the end. It’s that determination the manager has kind of instilled in us to keep going and never quit.”

Conte’s fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone has been nicknamed ‘the Marine’ back in his native Italy for being an extremely hard taskmaster, particularly during pre-season (The Sun).

The 62-year-old reportedly used a ‘bell of shame’ during his time at Juventus, which the first player who dropped out of the endurance sessions would have to ring so everyone could see they had quit.

Doherty insisted that Ventrone does not use such extreme tactics anymore and the Italian is loved by the squad despite being extremely demanding.

When asked about the ‘bell of shame’, the right-back responded: “There’s nothing like that [here].

“I think he’s actually calmed down a lot in the last few years. We’re getting the sentimental side of him! Seriously though, it’s incredibly tough and they know what they’re doing so we trust them.

“It’s all love for Gian Piero actually. It’s funny because we were having this conversation. Normally when you have a fitness coach like that who is running you ragged you start to not like him but that’s not the case.

“We all absolutely love him. We’ve got so much respect for him that we do whatever he tells us to.”

Spurs Web Opinion

While Conte’s decision not to take the likes of Reguilon, Lo Celso, Ndombele and Winks to South Korea seemed harsh, it makes perfect sense in light of the high-intensity fitness work the squad is being put through.

It would not be reasonable to demand that sort of uncompromising work from players who would know that they do not have a future at the club.

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