WATER WORKS

A successful training camp in Asia in summer needs careful managing of the conditions where possible and for the players, water comes in handy for cooling as well as rehydrating purposes.

It was a return to a double session on Monday after Sunday's single training and in the morning, the clear skies and sun raised the temperature to a new high for this visit to Bangkok. Set up behind one of the goals at the International School Bangkok's pitch is a gazebo with a water spray for use by the players when they feel the need (pictured top).

After the morning session was completed the swimming pool adjacent to the changing rooms at the school was understandably very popular.

On the pitch, the squad was divided into two groups for different routines with at intervals, players selected who then had to race from one group to join the other.

'Every training session we do something different and everybody is sharp, and I don't have any problem with the heat,' Kevin De Bruyne commented later in the day.

Managing the conditions stretches beyond keeping cool and with careful attention to detail, Chelsea's head groundsman, Jason Griffin, travelled out to Bangkok ahead of the team's arrival to ensure the surface at the International School is in the best shape possible.

'Here it is different to games in the United States where my job was laying turf on baseball grounds,' he says.

'Here the facility is more used to catering for football and I am out here overseeing everything - making sure the lines are marked properly and the pitch is mowed and irrigated, because that is the key in this heat - to make sure it doesn't get too hard for the players.

'From what I have heard this pitch is the best in Thailand and it is very good. For a surface that is hosting two training sessions a day it is playing very well.'

Rami


Griffin has also visited the Rajamangala Stadium where the game will be held on Wednesday night. Again his priority is to make sure the pitch is sufficiently watered.

'The key is to get it soft and get it as wet as you can on the surface so it is slick,' he says.

Back home at Stamford Bridge meanwhile, the grass is nearly ready for another domestic season with the pitch in recent years as good as it has ever been, drawing praise from John Terry in his matchday programme notes at the end of last season.

'We are not having to re-turf it these days,' explains Griffin. 'That is what we were having to do twice a year but not for the last six or seven years, so we are going in the right direction. There are a few more things we can tweak but the lights we are able to shine on the grass are fantastic, a massive step forward, and 80 per cent of the Premier League clubs have got them.

'The Premier League is so watched everywhere you have to have perfect surfaces, not just for the aesthetics but for the team as well. It needs a top drawer surface and that is what we have to provide.'

Back in Bangkok, one type of condition it would be hard to do much about is heavy rain and that threatened in the hour before Monday evening's training, with dark clouds and lightning about, but thankfully it held off until the very final minutes of another energetic session, and then it was only a moderate fall. It might even have been welcome by that stage.