An international break and for First Team fitness coach Pablo Fernández, a chance to make an evaluation of the fitness levels of the squad. As he sees it, the break not only serves to help those who need a rest but also those who need to improve their fitness: "When there's no competition you have to raise your levels of motivation, take advantage of the time to round off the fitness of some players and to sustain - and even develop - the physical level of the group. This rest helps us because competition is mentally and physically tasking when playing continuously. This rest doesn't just help physically but mentally".
"This week the second section of coaching began, where we work to capitalise on everything we've picked up"
It is a rest that is marked, as was pointed out by Pablo Fernández, by a new spell for the coaching staff, who divide the season: "into four big sections. This week the second part of coaching began, putting an end to the first quarter which started in July. This second section has different characteristics in working terms. In the first we concentrated on development, in the gaining of fitness and getting the players to the highest levels possible. In this second section we start working to maintain levels and adjust some. We work to capitalise on everything we've picked up, putting everything into action. It's a phase that will last until the end of the year".
"It's one more stat that helps us to make as few mistakes as possible"
Asked about the minutes several players have picked up, like Sergio Rico, for example, the only player to surpass 700 minutes, Fernández explained "in this administrative plan of sharing minutes the main goal is to put the best team on the field. From there, other aspects come into play, like the balancing of players who play a lot and those who need to compete. These stats influence decisions but aren't the be all and end all, it's one more stat that helps us to make as few mistakes as possible. We try to administer in the best way possible so that everyone is in the best shape possible when they need to be. That's the challenge. When someone from the outside decides it's better for one player to play or rest, you have to remember all players are different. There are those who reach their best shape by playing and there are those who need to train for it".