Derby County Assistant Manager Jody Morris sat down with RamsTV on Wednesday for an in-depth interview about the Rams' pre-season preparations so far.
Owen Bradley joined Morris in the Tenerife sun, as they discussed the training camp so far, as well as the dynamic between himself, Frank Lampard and Chris Jones.
Owen Bradley: We’re about halfway through the week out here in Tenerife, how is it going?
Jody Morris: “The lads are working hard, we’ve had some tough sessions that they are all attacking and trying to get the most out of. Some of the days have been tougher than others, Tuesday afternoon was a bit lighter, because we know that Wednesday was going to be tough. They’re dealing with it well. The conditions are difficult at times, especially in the afternoon when the heat goes up a notch.”
OB: Traditionalists would tell you that pre-season is just about running and fitness, but I get the sense that it’s about more than that…
JM: “It’s about trying to instil some of the habits that we will be asking for throughout the season, both in training and in games. Make no mistake about it, the early part of pre-season is about getting a good base and some work into your legs. That’s so that when you do work at intensity and look at more tactical and technical aspects, you’re doing it from a position of strength. You can then replicate what you want to do in games, in training. At the minute, we are not quite up to speed with where we want to be, so this trip is about getting them physically ready, so that when we are back home, we can start work on specific aspects.”
OB: There are a lot of bases to cover with the work that you need to do. Just give us an insight into the planning that goes into each session…
JM: “We had the week mapped out before we got here, but we have flexibility and you need to be able to adapt at times for the feedback that we get from Rob [Sadler], Steve [Haines] and the Doc [Amit Pannu] about how the boys are feeling. You have got to have that empathy, we have all had pre-season and there are times when you have to listen to the players, especially when the training is slightly different to what they have been used to. You have to be in good communication the medical and fitness team. We’re doing okay on bodies at the moment, so fingers crossed. When you’re getting a good amount of work in, you hope that they are getting fitter but also not to pick up any injuries.”
OB: We have just seen the session come to an end with some pretty brutal running, are you learning a lot about the character of the players as well?
JM: “The more tests that you throw at them, the quicker the characters reveal themselves. Sometimes, that means doing some stuff that is not very pleasing to some, but then it’s an opportunity for others to shine. You need to make sure that you have a mixed bag of work and plenty of opportunity to impress. The boys have been pushing each other which is important, you need that within the group. You need characters and leaders that are going to set an example for the rest of the group and the young lads that are here. At the moment, everyone is putting the work in, you want to make sure that people are paying attention when you give out bits of information. The group seems to be driving itself, and that’s important.”
OB: It’s been fascinating to see how yourself, Frank Lampard and Chris Jones work together. You all seem to have slightly different, complimentary personalities…
JM: “Me and the gaffer worked together quite a lot last year when he came in to work with me [at Chelsea]. We know what we want and what we expect from the players. I’ve known Chris for a long time and I always used to have a dialogue with the preparation that the first team were doing, which would funnel back down to the Academy. I’d take bits that he was doing with the first team and then try to feed that into my group. The dynamic is very much what we would expect throughout the season. This [training] is focused on fitness and a couple of habits and themes that we want to get out of every session, which is good for the physical side of it but also for the way we want to play. We are all aware of our roles but there is a lot of input that the gaffer wants and hopefully we will give him the right answers.”