POSITIVE PREPARATIONS FOR UNDER-21S

Posted on: Tue 16 Jul 2013

While Jose Mourinho puts the first team squad through their paces over in Asia, our Under-21s have also been preparing for the new season in less familiar surroundings, with a training camp in America.

The official Chelsea website caught up with manager Dermot Drummy, who reflected on a couple of solid displays and praised the application of his young players…

One trip, two cities, and two positive results.

As pre-season tours go, our Under-21s' trip to America has been hugely beneficial.

Dermot Drummy and his squad have been working hard in soaring temperatures Stateside as they look to get off to a positive start when the 2013/14 campaign gets underway next month.

The players have been involved in two friendly fixtures, with a match in Philadelphia preceding another in New York. The first ended 1-1, with the Blues winning the second game 2-0, and Drummy was pleased with both performances, as he explains.

'We played two games in two days,' he reports. 'Firstly we played Philadelphia Union, an MLS side, in their main stadium, and then we played New York Red Bulls the following day at their training ground, where we met Andy Roxburgh (the former Scotland manager), who's their technical director.

'Philadelphia were very hospitable and it was a really nice occasion, but the game itself was a tough one. It was about 102 degrees on the pitch and we played a different 11 players in each half, giving them 45 minutes each.

'In that game we went 1-0 down, but we came back into it and equalised through Alex Kiwomya. In the second half we had some chances and their goalkeeper made a few saves, including one from Jeremie Boga, but it was a good test.

'In the second game against New York Red Bulls we kept the same two teams. Boga, who's done very well out here, captained the side from the start, and we won the game 2-0 thanks to goals from John Swift and Kiwomya.

'The heat was again the biggest factor but the boys showed good intelligence and it was an impressive display.'

With temperatures soaring, it's imperative the players are able to look after their bodies in order to limit the threat of fatigue and combat dehydration.

Drummy paid tribute to his backroom staff for the work they have carried out in looking after the players in testing conditions.

'We went to Philadelphia first, which was really nice. The temperatures were up in the 90s and training in that heat was very intense,' he explains.

'The boys were super, their application was right and there was a massive effort from the likes of Matt Birnie (fitness and conditioning coach) and Jack Christopher (sports scientist), who have been doing all the rehydration for the group.

'That's been massively important because they're losing so much fluid, and the players have been well looked after by the physios, Simon Dickie and Steve Hughes, who have been working around the clock.

'The lads are sore and they're training hard, but we've had no injuries and everybody's been able to train which is good, and the whole group have worked really hard, not just the players but the backroom staff as well.

'Even in this heat the sessions are still 75-80 minutes, we only stop for water breaks. The players have had a rehydration workshop while we've been out here, which was put on by Jack and Matt. It was put on to educate the boys about why they need to eat at certain times and why they need to rehydrate due to the sweat they're losing. It's important to know how it affects the body when you do dehydrate, so it was a really good workshop for them and it's part of their learning process.'

The players will head home on Thursday ahead of some domestic friendlies which begin next week.

Drummy is rewarding the players with a well-earned day off tomorrow, where they will have an opportunity to take in the sights of New York.

Then, the hard work really does begin, and the focus will turn to ensuring the squad are in the very best condition for when the first whistle sounds on the weekend of August 9/10.

'We return to the UK on Thursday and will then have a couple of days off before we're back in on Sunday to prepare for a friendly against Sutton next week.

'We then play against Frank Sinclair's Colwyn Bay and then against Ilkeston, who are managed by another former Chelsea player Kevin Wilson, so we have a few decent tests before the season begins.'

'It's been a really great trip, the players have acquitted themselves well and represented the club in a fantastic manner,' he says.