Modern football is a game of fine margins. Whether it’s sports psychologists or trained nutritionists, clubs are always looking for the best way to eek that every inch of potential from their squads in an attempt to realise their ambitions.
Newcastle United’s ambitions are modest at best, and amount to little more than keeping themselves in the Premier League, but with the scramble to avoid the drop looking like it could be tight one, Rafa Benitez will be looking for any way possible to give his side a slight advantage.
That’s why Newcastle fans should be delighted by the new that the Toon squad is set to go on a warm weather break after their clash with Wolves on Monday night.
Writing in a column for The Times, journalist George Culkin revealed the plans and also reminded fans of how Rafa employed the same tactics eleven months ago.
That time around, a mini-break in the sun was the precursor to a hot streak of three consecutive wins in the league, including a 2-1 win over Arsenal, and supporters will be praying for a similar effect this year.
Far from being a glorified holiday – although a bit of relaxation could also be beneficial for a side under the pressure that the Magpies are facing – the warmer conditions of somewhere like Alicante, where the squad jetted out to last time, allow for the manager to spend more time on things like shape and defensive organisation, without having to worry about his players standing still for long periods in the harsh conditions of a north eastern winter.
It may not be a game changer, but a break right now could be exactly the kind of incremental advantage that makes a world of difference.