Antonio Conte’s punishing pre-season training methods have been revealed as he whips his Tottenham squad into shape ahead of the new campaign.
Spurs are currently on tour in South Korea, where they will face a K-League XI in their opening pre-season friendly on Wednesday.
It is the first time Tottenham will have prepared for a new season under Conte, who has developed a reputation for pushing his players to the limit of their physical capabilities.
The Daily Mail have now revealed fascinating details about that training session and Conte’s wider methods as the Italian gears up for his first full season in north London.
Overseen by fitness coach Gian Piero Ventrone, Monday’s open training session in Seoul included a brutal drill in which the Tottenham squad were made to run up to 42 lengths of the pitch at a quick pace, with players who recently returned from international duty mercifully allowed to run 30.
The players were only allowed brief pauses after each set of three to four runs in the 30°C heat, a punishing pace which caused a number of senior players – including Kane and South Korean star Son Heung-min – to collapse to the floor during the session.
The drill was eventually won by young striker Troy Parrott, 20, who sprinted clear in the final stages to finish first.
When asked if Conte’s training methods are as hard as they seem, Parrott said: “It depends who you ask. I’m quite a good runner naturally, but yeah it’s been tough. It’s been hard work but it’s all preparation.”
Conte placed a huge emphasis on fitness when he arrived at Tottenham in November, with the club languishing in eight place. He immediately managed to transform Spurs’ running stats from being the worst in the league to the best.
The remarkable turnaround was in part thanks to three coaches – Costantino Coratti, Gian Piero Ventrone and Stefano Bruno – that Conte brought with him to the club.
Ventrone, who also goes by the nickname ‘Professor Marine’, is said to be at the heart of Conte’s punishing drills. The 62-year-old’s mottos towards training are said to be phrases such as “work today to run tomorrow”, “die but finish” and “victory belongs to the strong”.
Conte placed Romelu Lukaku on a strict diet at Inter Milan (Image: Alamy)According to the report, Ventrone’s role is all about pushing players to the limit of their physical capabilities and previously used a ‘Bell of Shame’ as motivation at Juventus, forcing players to ring it if they dropped out of a session first.
As well as fitness, Conte is also known for his meticulous approach to tactical preparation in pre-season. Video analysis sessions are daily and extremely detailed, with Conte obsessing of the position of players down to a single yard.
At Chelsea, Conte had various video cameras installed at their Cobham training ground and used the footage for tactics and in team talks. After beating Vitesse Arnhem in the Europa League last season, the analysis session that followed was said to have lasted 75 minutes instead of the initial 20 as planned.
Conte is also known for paying close attention to nutrition, with his dietary rules perhaps his most strict. It was reported by The Athletic that Conte had banned ketchup and mayonnaise at Tottenham’s training ground due to concerns over some players’ weight, with the Italian also withdrawing heavy food and sandwiches from the menu.
Conte adopted similar tactics during his time at Chelsea, banning pizza, fizzy drinks as well as ketchup and brown sauce – encouraging players to use balsamic vinegar, olive oil and salt and pepper to season their food.
John Terry said he felt the fittest while working under Conte (Image: Alamy)Former Blues captain John Terry supported Conte’s methods, claiming he was in “the fittest and in the best shape of my career playing under Antonio”.
Conte is also credited with helping Romelu Lukaku rediscover his best form at Inter Milan after placing the Belgium international specific ‘Bresaola diet’, which allowed him to lose nearly 10lbs in just 12 days.
Lukaku would go to score 64 goals in 95 games in the following to seasons, vindicating Conte’s decision to place him on a strict diet.
Tottenham’s squad will be hoping for similar results this season after putting in the hard yards in Korea.
They host Southampton in their opening Premier League match on August 6. Let’s just hope there’s a few players left standing by that point.