Writer: Barry Worthington
Date:Saturday July 25 2009
The Wigan Athletic week long pre-season training camp in Austria has now come to an end and the squad along with Roberto Martinez have headed back to the UK and look forward to getting ready for the first challenge of the new campaign, Aston Villa away on 15th August.
The week 'away` has been a bit of an eye opener for manager Martinez, speaking on the clubs official website he says he knew that there are some great players but wasn`t aware of the depth of character and the utter professionalism of the players, Martinez says:
'We have some absolutely fantastic characters at this club, top, top professionals. I knew that of course, but until you work with them day in day out, you don't realise quite what quality players they are.
'The best thing about being away on a trip like this is that you start to get to know the characters behind the reputations, you learn so much about people when you are with them day in, day out for seven days.'
Pre-season training camps are all about increasing the players fitness and getting them physically prepared to meet the demands and intensity of a Premier League Season, the Latics played three games in the past week against opposition from across Europe and failed to win a game, but that is of no concern to Martinez who is keen to look at the bigger picture, earlier in the week he was keen to point out that the supporters shouldn`t get carried away with the results saying: "the importance of these games are as a fitness exercise so fans shouldn't be too disheartened with the score-line", following the 2-0 defeat by FC Timisoara of Romania.
He is of course correct, Martinez, along with Graeme Jones and Graham Barrow have brought a new style of play to the team, this will take time to get embedded, doing things the Martinez way. He is pleased that the 'lads` are following his philosophy though he admits they are a long way from the finished article, Martinez says: 'I can see straight away that the players are buying into the concept of what we are doing, if you like. We're nowhere near the place I want us to be at when we play Aston Villa, but we have made huge steps this week.
'The players understand what we are trying to do and the intensity levels we have reached have been pleasing, along with the fact that, Olivier Kapo excepted, we have managed to stay injury free apart from the little niggles that you always get in pre-season.'
So it`s back to work at Christopher Park on Monday and then a trip to Deepdale on Tuesday to face Lancashire neighbours, Championship club Preston North End, will the result there matter, you bet it will, Martinez finish`s with: 'Austria is finished and it has been a fantastic fitness exercise for us - but the real work starts now.
'The hard work starts again on Monday and having said all week that results don't matter, from now on, they do, starting on Tuesday at Preston.'
Tickets for the Preston game are available from the Latics ticket office
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Date:Saturday July 25 2009
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