Azpilicueta: Recovering the right way

As the busy schedule continues, Cesar Azpilicueta provides some insight into the importance of recovery between matches, as well as the methods used in order to ensure players are in the best possible condition to face the next challenge.

The Blues have been playing a weekend fixture, followed by one in midweek, for the majority of the campaign, and it’s a trend which is set to continue as we face matches across four competitions over the coming weeks and months.

We often hear about the importance of recovery time between matches in modern football, but what exactly does a player like Azpilicueta do to make sure he is fresh, fit and focused for another important fixture?

‘The immediate recovery, as soon as a game is finished, is very important so we will have treatment and use the ice bath, as well as making sure we eat the right food in order to get enough sleep after the match,’ the defender explains.

‘We normally eat pasta, meat, fish, sometimes sushi, just a mix of protein and carbohydrates to put back inside the body to help us recover.

‘That’s the first step. Then, moving forward, in training the next day the intensity is not as high as it would be during a period when you have a whole week to prepare for a game. We try to recover on the pitch as well and just start preparing for the next game in the best way possible.’

The Spaniard featured in every minute of every game as we won the Premier League title last season and he has made 29 appearances so far this campaign, playing a total of 2,725 minutes.

For a player who is involved so frequently, the importance of making the right decisions between games in terms of personal recovery is imperative.

‘Recovery plays a massive part when you have a match every three days because you need to be at your best in each game,’ says Azpilicueta.

‘It’s a very important part of our profession because every three days we have a tough game when we have to give everything, so we have to try to recover in order to be as fresh as possible, you need that freshness in order to play well.’

In terms of recovery methods, does it differ from player to player? Or is it dependant on personal needs?

‘It’s not about a player's position, it’s more about the individual personality,’ he says.

‘Somebody might feel better doing some work in the gym, or stretching, which others maybe don’t like as much because they’re not used to it.

'Others might prefer different food or they maybe sleep more in the afternoon, so it’s more about the individual.'

Given the importance of recovery between games, there is often less time for Antonio Conte to work on tactical drills during such a packed schedule.

However, when playing the same opponent regularly in a short space of time, as we have with Arsenal recently, that can prove to be beneficial due to the familiarity of the opposition.

‘Obviously when you play every three days you have less time to work in the same way as we were last season, that’s just normal.

'Maybe you have less time on the training pitch but that means you have to be more focused. We are working all the time and you have to try to take in all the information in order to help you during a game.

‘In this particular case, we’ve played Arsenal twice in a week, and we will play them again in a fortnight’s time so we will try to analyse the games we’ve played against them and look at where we were better and where we need to improve so we can get through to the final.’

Our next challenge comes later today when Leicester City visit the Bridge, and Azpilicueta says we are ready for what will be another stern test against the Foxes.

‘We expect a tough game,’ says the 28-year-old. ‘It’s important after the 2-2 draw at Arsenal, when we couldn’t get the three points, that we get back to winning ways.

'They have good players and they have improved under Claude Puel. We have to be ready for the challenge because we will have to fight hard for the three points.’

Today's game is followed by another home fixture, Wednesday's FA Cup third-round replay against Norwich City, and Azpilicueta spoke about the role our fans can play.

'In every home game it’s important for us to have the support of the fans,' said the club's vice-captain.

'The FA Cup is a special competition and this club has a fantastic history in it. This is the first step of trying to get to Wembley again and the support of our fans, as always, will be very important.'

 

- Tickets for the game against Norwich, priced £30 for adults and £15 for juniors and seniors, are on general sale now and can be purchased by clicking here.