Physical conditioning a key factor in United upturn
WITH Ched Evans, Daniel Bogdanovic and Bjorn Helge Riise all involved in the most recent round of Euro 2012 qualifiers, opportunities to sharpen their attacking skills have proved limited for Sheffield United.
But the Blades have still put the international break to good use, boss Micky Adams revealed last night.
With chances to impose his footballing philosophy on the squad of players he inherited following Gary Speed’s departure three months ago in short supply, United’s work since beating Leeds has focused largely on technical aspects of their game.
He has attributed the club’s upturn in form to improved fitness levels, so those not selected to represent their respective countries have spent the past few days pounding the pitches of Shirecliffe.
“Obviously with a lot of lads being away you’re not able to go over absolutely everything that you’d ordinarily like,” Adams, who also lost defender Shane Lowry to a training camp for potential Socceroos, said. “But that’s not prevented us from having a productive time of it.
“We’ve looked a tdifferent aspects such as team shape both in and out of possession and other areas like that.
“We’ve also been able to put in a lot of good work with regards to fitness as well. So hopefully that’s going to be of benefit. I think one of the reasons why we’ve picked up of late is the fact that we’re a lot closer now to where I’d like us to be when it comes to that.”
Adams spent an anxious 48 hours waiting to discover if Evans, Bogdanovic and Riise, who scored United’s second goal during their 2-0 victory over Simon Grayson’s charges, returned to England uninjured.
Evans was a second-half substitute as Wales were beaten 2-0 by Fabio Capello’s on Saturday while Bogdanovic started Malta’s narrow defeat by Greece later that evening.
Riise, who is also expected to he handed a prominent role when United resume their campaign for Championship survival at Queens Park Rangers next week, completed Norway’s 1-1 draw with Denmark.
Adams added: “Those areas where we have been a bit limited because of the lads who haven’t been here, such as attacking set-pieces, we can start to look at and work on now that everyone is back.”