TOUR STORY – DAY EIGHT

tour-story

A Thursday without training ensured there was no chance of either of Friday’s arranged sessions being cancelled, as Mourinho had done at the weekend to give his players a break.

There was an early start in Kuala Lumpur, with the squad taking a short bus ride to the Shah Alam Stadium, which will host Sunday’s game against the Malaysia XI.

We played here in 2008 with Luiz Felipe Scolari in charge, and trained here in 2011 with Andre Villas-Boas at the helm. It is a 68,000-capacity athletics arena with two soaring sides, and only small seating at either end.

A sharp warm up was followed by a session you can read more about here, which at one time had all three goalkeepers in action during an attack v defence situation. The humidity was almost unbearable watching, so participating must have been something akin to hell.

Rest all-round followed, though Mourinho spent some of his time after lunch speaking with the English press at the team hotel. Petr Cech turned adventurer before departing for the second session, taking to the hotel gardens in search of the iguana he had spotted from his room hurrying into the nearby water. The iguana remains at large.

Evening training was naturally a little cooler, but fiercely contested with tackles flying in. The players are clearly desperate to impress even at this early stage.

After the session Chelsea TV completed their Belgian hat-trick for the day, interviewing Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne hours after they had spoken with Eden Hazard inside the stadium.

At dinner, entertainment was laid on by travelling chef Darren Taylor, who is as handy with a guitar as he is in the kitchen, and he was joined on drums by Cech, who continued to practice after the other players had departed for bed. Next door, Mourinho’s pleas for the Czech to stop were unheard, though the manager too departed in good spirits.

Away from the squad’s activity, there has been plenty more coaching going on at the Blue Pitch in KL courtesy of our Foundation coaches, and there will be more reporting on that tomorrow.

Finally, the news from Thailand is that Wednesday’s game was the loudest the Rajamangala Stadium has seen in such a pre-season fixture, the reason given by game promoters in the country being that Chelsea enjoys the youngest fanbase of the prominent European clubs. That suggests the future is as bright off the field as it appears on it.

Tomorrow offers the first opportunity to see how the Malaysian fans compare, with evening training open to supporters at the Shah Alam.

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