After an intense but supremely productive stay in Val d’Aosta, the Bianconeri bid a fond farewell to the place where they have been so well accommodated over the past few days with an entertaining last training session at Chatillon’s Stadio Brunod.
Leading by example, Antonio Conte was first onto the pitch, and gathered his men for a focusing team talk as they looked ahead to tomorrow’s TIM Trophy encounters with Milan and Sassuolo in Reggio Emilio.
The session began with a game of half-pitch handball in which the goals had to be finished with a header or volley. Stephan Lichtsteiner opened the scoring after ghosting in at the back post and nodding in, while Mirko Vucinic and Fernando Llorente showed their finishing instinct with two more headed goals.
Conte would occasionally blow his whistle at random during the game to signify that the team’s playing direction had changed, a technique that encouraged quick counter attacks.
Next was a one-touch mini match, the last of the pre-season training camp. It began in style, with Paolo De Ceglie sending a rocketing shot with the outside of his foot into the corner from distance.
The next goal was equally skillful: Carlos Tevez rolled the ball to the onrushing Simone Padoin, who fired into the corner. After free-play had been signaled, the Argentine then got his own name on the scoresheet, taking it past two opponents to slot home.
Also amongst the goals in their side’s 5-3 victory was Llorente, with Mauricio Isla, Marco Motta and Fausto Rossi netting for the other team.
In a reversal of the normal sequence, the mini match was followed by fitness drills mainly consisting of sprints.
And then the mannequin drill, with Conte placing particular emphasis on width and ensuring that all the forward players rushed into the box to support the attack.
Continuing to develop tactics, they practiced free kicks and corners in a number of different layouts, before signing autographs for the many fans for one last time in recognition of their fantastic support over the past 10 days.