Sunday 24 September 2017

Fitness regime paying off - Chadli

Nacer Chadli has never felt so fit
Nacer Chadli has never felt so fit

Tottenham's fitness regime may be punishing, but it means Nacer Chadli and his team-mates approach a vital few weeks fitter than ever.

Thursday's Europa League last-32 first leg against Fiorentina is the first of six vital matches Spurs have to face over a 17-day period.

As well as the return fixture in Florence and three Barclays Premier League matches, the north London side also have the little matter of the Capital One Cup final against rivals Chelsea on March 1.

That run will be a huge test for Mauricio Pochettino's team, but attacking midfielder Chadli expects the hard work their manager demands to bear fruit.

"We have a strong squad with a lot of quality and players, so we can play all those games and compete in every competition," the Belgium international said.

"We know it has been a problem in the past, but we rotated quite a lot at the start of the season and did quite well so why not now?

"We improved a lot as a team how to play together and you can see our fitness is very good.

"We almost do not have injured players and you can see that we can fully play 90 minutes with the high tempo and that has helped us in big games."

Chadli is not expecting that intensity to drop off against Fiorentina, despite Thursday's game being Tottenham's 42nd competitive match of the season.

The intensity of work Pochettino and his coaching staff demand has been key to managing that and, while the regime does not "kill" the players, Chadli says he and his colleagues are pushed hard in the gym and on the training field.

It means this squad is fitter than any the former AGOVV Apeldoorn and Twente man has ever worked with, and he too has never felt so strong.

"(Pochettino) says before we start (training) that we have to be sharp," Chadli said. "He wants to make everyone sharp and be well trained.

"We always train with GPS. They are looking at players. If they get tired, they can see it on the GPS. The amount we run, they can check everything.

"You cannot cheat, or put the GPS on a cat. I've tried that!"

Chadli made the last comment with a laugh, underlining the relaxed spirit within the camp ahead of what is a hectic, testing schedule.

A trip to Wembley looms large, but he insists the players are only focused on the next match - the first leg of a tie against Fiorentina he knows will be tough.

"They are a strong side who can play good football," the 25-year-old said. "They are one of the best in Italy and they have quality players up front as well as in defence.

"They are very organised and we have to play with a lot of tempo and to be strong at home to beat them because if not it will be difficult to go there and get something."

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