Domenico Tedesco: We have a very tight-knit group

With the 3-1 win over Hebei China Fortune, the 11-day trip to the Middle Kingdom came to a positive end. “Winning after being down a goal speaks to the character of the boys,” says head coach Domenico Tedesco, who gave his side three days off after they arrived back in Germany.

“Having the chance to switch off for a little bit is important to recharge your battery and clear your head after a long trip like we’ve had. Even though we had very good facilities out there, the length of the journey, the time difference and the climate made things challenging,” says the 32-year-old. “We will get back to work in Gelsenkirchen from Monday again.”

Big ambitions within the team

Tedesco was happy with the intensity which his side displayed in China. “We did less than we did during our first few sessions in Germany. Normally during a training session the players will run between six and seven kilometers. In China, however, that was more like four. That’s primarily down to the climate.”

That didn’t turn out to be a problem though. “The weather and the climate were both better than last year. We were able to do more than we originally thought we’d be able to,” says the coach, who senses that his team have big ambitions for this season. “The boys always look forward to training, just like me. That’s the best premise for a successful season. I get the feeling that we have a very tight-knit group. That’s been one of our biggest strengths recently. And we want that to continue.”

Lots of individual and group meetings

Aside from the work on the pitch, Tedesco has also used the time in China to hold a lot of individual and group meetings. “We hadn’t seen each other as a team for a few weeks before we came together for the first day of training. It was important to get a feel for how each player was feeling. In Gelsenkirchen we’re with each other for about eight hours a day, whereas in China we were together for more than ten days straight. It makes you closer,” he explains. “I also had the chance to talk to our new signings about their first impressions of the club.”

The feedback has been positive. “It already seems as though some of them have been with us for much longer. It’s going well. It’s not exactly normal to spend your first few days at a new club together with your new teammates,” says Tedesco.

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