By Jason Burt – Chief Football Correspondent, Daily Telegraph
“He has made us – and his rivals- think and react. Everyone is on their toes and knows they have to lift their game. Be harder, faster, fitter – and smarter.
…..Guardiola has done something different – and made everyone think about it…not just in tactics and personnel…but more importantly, in approach…these (tactics and personnel) are food for thought…here is the third and most important example: the food itself. Guardiola is interested to the point of obsession in conditioning and, above all – the effects diet has – which provides a psychological as well as a physical result.
Immediately, players such as Samir Nasri and Yaya Toure are banished from training or the match-day squad because they are deemed overweight. In fact City players are weighed almost daily , which has to keep them on their toes. If their weight is higher than it is deemed it should be then they do not train. Simple and dispassionate as that.
The players eat together – breakfast, lunch and, after matches, dinner . They have to sign in and out of the club’s canteen for those meals to prove they have done so, with Guardiola regarding nutritionists as vital members of his staff. Out have gone post match pizzas and chicken goujons and in have come salmon and prawn salads and a handful of mixed nuts – which are packed with protein. Medical studies have shown that the speed of post - match recovery depends entirely upon the players diet. Guardiola is a disciple.
Eating together has also helped bonding, with the trade off that the players are not forced to stay overnight in club accommodation before home games…so they are less bored.
With the Olympics having overlapped with the start of the Premier season… Guardiola wants his players to live their lives like Olympic athletes. They have one chance at this he has told them…Guardiola’s teams tend to be the hardest working and the fittest in the leagues they play in. That is the given that allows the talent to flourish.”
Jason Burt – Chief Football Correspondent.