JOHN O’SHEA says Sunderland are being brainwashed to concentrate for every single minute – even on the training field.
Since his appointment as Sunderland head coach, Paolo Di Canio has continually stressed the importance of changing the mentality of his squad at the Stadium of Light.
And O’Shea gave an indication of that message here in Hong Kong yesterday, by revealing Di Canio’s focus has centred on keeping switched on throughout training, to ensure those last-gasp conceded goals in competitive games become scarce.
It is a mantra which the centre-half admits was not too dissimilar from the one under Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
“The manager has spoken about everyone giving 100 per cent concentration, not only on the physical side, but the mental side of it too,” said O’Shea.
“We have to make sure we stay fully focused, even if it’s the last few minutes of a training session or a game where you’re 1-0 up.
“The manager is making sure the players are really focused because it’s so vital in the Premier League.
“I had a few perfect examples of that at the previous club I was at!”
While Sunderland’s mental approach is being developed, it is their physical preparations which have been well-documented over the last month.
Sunderland have continued with their double daily training sessions here in Hong Kong, conducting an open one in front of supporters at the Hong Kong Stadium last night.
But after speaking with fellow professionals at other clubs, O’Shea believes such a regime is considered relatively routine these days.
The 32-year-old added to the Echo: “It’s lived up to normal pre-season to be honest.
“I think the two sessions a day are quite a normal thing these days.
“When you hear from other players at other clubs, some are doing one session, three sessions or double sessions.
“I think every manager realises how important it is to get their squad fully fit and give the players every chance to finish as high as they can in the league.
“I think the pre-season is definitely the best foundation for that.”