Premier League clubs and players don’t get a winter break, at least not an official one. However, Tottenham Hotspur is taking advantage of a lull in the schedule to send the team down south to sunny Spain for a little change of pace.
For the second year in a row, Spurs are taking a week to train in Barcelona at the Olympic Stadium. The move comes halfway through the season when the English weather is at its worst and is used as a motivational tool to get Spurs to soak up a little Spanish sunshine, train in a different location, and use the new surroundings to bond as a team.
Spurs coach Jesus Perez explained the reasons behind the trip on Tottenham’s website.
“We’ve played so many matches so far and it’s the same - a lot of training, a lot of the same routines - and the players deserve a bit of a break. Of course, we are training here, so we’re not on holiday, but they have time to be together as a group, to go shopping, to walk around, to have different meals, a change from the normal habits in London. It’s good as a group and I think it will be a fantastic experience again.
“The most important thing is to provide the players with a little rest, not physical rest, but mental rest, so they can do activities here together. In London it’s difficult because everyone lives in a different place and sometimes it’s not easy to stay three or four days between matches, especially when you are in an English team. This is more of a European team idea, they have periods like this to do different activities. So that’s most important and on Thursday, we’re back to normal, back at the training centre to prepare for the FA Cup as normal.”
I love this idea. Mauricio Pochettino has connections and friends in Spain from his time as manager of Espanyol, and he’s mentioned before that, despite being a native Argentinian, he owns a Spanish passport. That probably makes it easy to arrange a few days of training in Spain.
Last year, the players seemed to have a real hoot walking the streets of Barcelona, as evident in this video taken by Kevin Wimmer where Harry Winks lost a bet and had to wear a Barcelona shirt, hat, and a pair of Crocs for the rest of the day.
It’s not the same thing as a true winter break, but all players need a change of pace now and then. After a tough match against Manchester City, this feels like a good time to get, if not a little R&R, at least a similar substance.