Marcos Alonso has explained why the training match between two Chelsea sides in Ireland was solid preparation at this stage of pre-season.
With our friendly against local opposition in Dublin cancelled, Thomas Tuchel instead split his travelling squad into two teams and led them out to face each other in a game at our training camp.
The match ended in a 1-1 draw, but it wasn’t for any lack of competitiveness, and Alonso feels it was a good way to build up fitness and judge how far along the squad is at this stage of pre-season, as well as breaking up the routine of training and getting used to playing in match situations again.
‘It’s good to have some games in pre-season to test ourselves, to gain some match fitness,’ he said. ‘We played at high intensity even though it was only between ourselves. It was good also to change some of the habits from training with some game stuff, so it’s always good to have these kind of games in pre-season.’
We have already seen during the team’s time in Ireland how competitive the squad can be among themselves, with no player prepared to lose to a team-mate in training and surrender bragging rights, no matter what the game, which means facing off against each other on the pitch may have been the perfect way to ensure an intensive match workout for them.
‘Pre-season is training with these lads so of course we know each other very well, but it’s always a good test and a good challenge. It’s demanding to play against players like we have here. It’s more for fitness preparation, but a game like this, it’s also a good test in terms of the level of the squad.
‘Even in training we never want to lose, of course. That’s why the intensity is always high even in training games. It’s always so demanding and that’s what it takes to have the right preparation to be ready for the beginning of the season.’
The game also provided another opportunity for some of the younger members of the squad, who after spending the past two weeks getting to learn from their more experienced team-mates in training, now got to see what it was like taking on world-class players in a match.
‘It’s definitely a good opportunity for them right now,’ added Marcos. ‘I remember my first pre-season as a young player with Real Madrid and I was so happy to be a part of it there.
‘I used to give 200 per cent to try and make the manager look at me and improve and learn from the experienced players. Here at Chelsea, it is one of the best places to be as a young player and learn from more experienced players and some of the top players in the world.’
The Spaniard also gave his verdict on how far along the squad are in their preparations for 2021/22, with Thomas Tuchel working the squad hard to get them in shape, and Alonso is sure it is going to be of great benefit to the players for the season itself.
‘We’re gaining a little bit more day by day, we’ve been having some tough sessions. We have more games before the Super Cup. Every day we are gaining a little bit, pushing a little bit more, session after session feeling better and getting ready for the big ones.
‘This is what pre-season is for, it’s the base for the whole season and you always have to do your best because then you are going to be thankful for all that work during the season.’