WEST Bromwich Albion have hit back at claims the club’s pre-season camp in Austria had employed excessive and outdated training regimes.
The Baggies are currently winding down their Austrian stay following last night’s friendly against Red Bull Salzburg after which they return home before setting off on Phase Two of the pre-season schedule with a three-game USA Tour.
But Director of Performance Dr Mark Gillett said: "Since arriving Tony has worked closely with myself and my staff to ensure that the right policies have been put in place in all aspects of physical and mental preparation for games.
"His attention to detail in ensuring the players are physically and mentally ready for games is second to none and his injury record throughout his career speaks for itself.
"The squad has suffered only one muscular injury since Christmas which is testament to the strong relationship between Tony, myself and the Science and Medicine Department.
"Of course the players are pushed hard during pre-season but frankly some of the media reports describing our approach as prehistoric are ridiculous and uneducated.
"In particular the comments made by [Dutch coach] Raymond Verheijen typify the lack of insight and understanding shown by so-called experts who do not work in the Premier League.”
Dr Gillett added: "All the work that we deliver is carefully monitored with cutting-edge technologies with which we have developed operational expertise over a number of years whilst playing in one of the world’s most competitive leagues.
"The running and cycling sessions are designed to develop cardiovascular fitness whilst limiting the risk of injuries to muscles and joints that excessive football sessions can provoke at this stage of the season.
"A measured introduction to football-specific work allows the players to benefit from the strength and conditioning work done in early pre-season.
"Whilst the notion that always training with the ball is attractive, both Tony and myself agree that without prior strength and conditioning work the possibility of sustaining early muscular injuries is heightened, This is, mainly because the demands on a footballer’s body are far greater when they are constantly moving in multiple directions with sharp accelerations and deceleration.
"In the first phase of pre-season the emphasis is on the development of baseline strength and cardiovascular fitness and at great expense the club has created a fully-equipped performance gym at their Austrian base and the squad have completed specific daily conditioning sessions in addition to their running, cycling and football work. We ensure that the time spent at high heart rates is individualised and matched to controlled high intensity distances and optimum acceleration/deceleration profiles’
"Tony’s record in working at clubs at all levels shows that he has great insight into maximising match fitness coupled with an understanding of how to keep injuries at a minimum, and this has integrated with the club’s science and medicine department which is regarded as one of the best in the Premier League."
Watch the video below to get the inside track on Albion’s pre-season sessions in Austria courtesy of fitness coach Matt Green.