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Everton's new challenge as assistant manager lifts lift on training

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Davide Ancelotti has lifted the lid on the new challenges facing both Everton's players and coaches upon their return to training this week.

The Blues squad were back at Finch Farm on Wednesday for the first time since March 12 as the Premier League took its first step towards a potential restart in the coming weeks and months.

Following a unanimous decision from all 20 clubs on Monday, sides were permitted to return to their respective training complexes for small group sessions, with no contact allowed, following the first phase of testing for COVID-19.

Having been away from the pitch for over two months, it will take some time for players to get back up to speed before matches can get underway again.

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But, Ancelotti has pinpointed why this break is different than a usual summer, and why Everton's preparations cannot follow the same trend as a normal pre-season.

He told evertonfc.com: “You need to change the plan a little bit [from a normal pre-season], go a little bit faster because we don’t know when we have to play in the Premier League," said Ancelotti.

“If you don’t have a day to start the competition, it is not easy to plan training. It is better to go day-by-day, always monitoring the players’ condition in training and with the data.

“We have GPS for the players, all the usual data. We need to follow this process because we cannot plan for a long period.

“Everyone came back in good shape but it is not possible to be match-fit after two months at home, they all need to improve their condition.

“It is important to do different drills every day and that is the most difficult part for the coaches – along with the organisation of training. Without contact, it is not easy to have competition.

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“But we try our best to make it enjoyable for the players – it is really important to have competition in training in the form of some games and we try to invent new drills.”

Players began to return to Finch Farm on Wednesday and were split into separate groups to complete three sets of small sessions.

The first selection of players started their training at 9am, with the last group finishing up at 1pm.

“We have three different training areas, each manned by a group of staff, for the players to work through,” started Ancelotti.

“The first is in the indoor pitch, where the players go directly from the car park for the first part of training, which focuses on strength and injury prevention.

“Then they go to an Academy pitch to do physical drills with the fitness coaches: runs and other cardiovascular exercises.

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“The final part of their training is on the first-team pitch with the manager, Duncan and I. That work is more position specific. We divided the players into positions and each group has its own drills.

“The first and second groups include two central defenders and two full-backs. Group number three is the central midfielders, the wingers are in the fourth group and group five is our strikers.

Work on those sessions starts the day before for Everton's coaches.

Ancelotti has explained that he, fellow assistant manager Duncan Ferguson and his father Carlo all contact each other via video call to plan out their methods.

The new guidelines and protocols have produced a number of interesting challenges for Everton's coaches to make sure they are providing the best sessions for the squad.

“We plan the session on video calls the day before and decide the materials we will need for each of the three areas," Ancelotti continued.

“I also speak with Duncan and my father on the pitch about what we need for the following day.

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“With the goalkeeper coach, for example, I had a video call on Wednesday afternoon to tell him the kind of training we would do on Thursday. We tell the kit men our plans and they put out everything for when we arrive – every item we use is cleaned every day.

"The rule is you have to be there 15 minutes before starting, so I arrive at 8.45am and we have time to prepare the third pitch for the first group of players.

"We leave straight after the final session and every three days, you step in the car and before you go home pass through the COVID-19 test.

“It is challenging for a coach to do training like this on the pitch. It stimulates the creativity of the coach to find something different every day."




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