WBA dismiss fitness regime claims
West Brom have dismissed accusations that the club's pre-season camp in Austria is too punishing.
Former Wales assistant manager Raymond Verheijen, who has worked across Europe as a fitness coach, was among those to criticise the Premier League club after it was reported West Brom boss Tony Pulis had ordered his players to run a marathon every three days in pre-season training.
Verheijen wrote on his personal Twitter account: "Typical pre-season in JurassUK Park: "West Brom running a marathon EVERY THREE DAYS as Tony Pulis aims super-fitness."
But Albion - who lost 3-1 to Red Bull Salzburg on Wednesday and are currently winding down their Austrian stay before setting off for a three-game tour of the United States - rubbished claims their training programme is excessive and maintained that Pulis' preparation is "second to none".
"Since arriving Tony has worked closely with myself and my staff to ensure that the right policies have been put in place in all aspects of physical and mental preparation for games," West Brom's director of performance Dr Mark Gillett told the official club website.
"His attention to detail in ensuring the players are physically and mentally ready for games is second to none and his injury record throughout his career speaks for itself.
"Of course the players are pushed hard during pre-season but frankly some of the media reports describing our approach as prehistoric are ridiculous and uneducated.
"In particular the comments made by Raymond Verheijen typify the lack of insight and understanding shown by so-called experts who do not work in the Premier League."
Gillett said the West Brom squad has suffered only one muscular injury since Christmas with Pulis becoming Baggies manager on January 1 and steering Albion to Premier League safety.
He added West Brom had created a fully-equipped performance gym at their Austrian base "at great expense", which allowed players to complete specific daily conditioning sessions in addition to their running, cycling and football work.
"All the work that we deliver is carefully monitored with cutting-edge technologies with which we have developed operational expertise over a number of years whilst playing in one of the world's most competitive leagues," Gillett said.
"Whilst the notion that always training with the ball is attractive, both Tony and myself agree that without prior strength and conditioning work the possibility of sustaining early muscular injuries is heightened.
"This is, mainly because the demands on a footballer's body are far greater when they are constantly moving in multiple directions with sharp accelerations and deceleration.
"Tony's record in working at clubs at all levels shows that he has great insight into maximising match fitness coupled with an understanding of how to keep injuries at a minimum, and this has integrated with the club's science and medicine department which is regarded as one of the best in the Premier League."