For winning in the Champions League over Juventus and Manchester City, Lyon coach Rudi Garcia has credited their ‘Italian fitness coach’ Paolo Rongoni.
Joining him in 2016-19 at Olympique Marseille, the pair met in 2014-15 when Garcia was in charge of Roma, and then in October of last year at Lyon.
The semi-finalists of the shock Champions League are Olympique Lyonnais after beating Juve and Manchester City, but Garcia tipped his hat to Rongoni during his post-match interview with Sky Sport Italia.
“I was not worried about running out of steam, because we have an Italian fitness coach and I knew we’d hold out brilliantly.”
Sky talked to Rongoni himself later to ask about the post-lockdown training programme.
“Everything was new after the coronavirus, as we hadn’t restarted the Ligue 1 season, so we had to adapt. I heard from a few colleagues in Italy and other countries to figure out what was happening.”
“It was a little frightening before resuming because there were injuries all over the place. In Germany and Italy in particular, thigh and calf strains were popping constantly.”
“So we totally transformed our fitness work and it’s something we might try again in the future. As Rudi said, we split eight weeks of training into two blocks. In the first, we worked hard physically, in the second we just played football.”
“I also thank the assistant manager Claude Fichaux, who structured the technical exercises on the same rhythm as the fitness work. That’s where we made the difference.”