BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Amongst all the differences noticeable since the restart of Premier League football, the introduction of drinks breaks, taken in each half and lasting no longer than one minute, sees referees stop games for players to drink from their own bottles to ‘reduce risk and maximise personal safety’ according to the guidelines of the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’.
For Crystal Palace this new element of the game was noticeable immediately as, following Jordan Ayew’s 23rd minute strike to put his side 2-0 up against Bournemouth in their first game back, the celebrations went straight into the break, somewhat dampening the moment.
Despite the breaks being officially for fluid intake, many managers have used it to bring their team together and discuss game issues at length, with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola even bringing out a tactics board, but for Eagles’ boss Roy Hodgson, rehydration comes first.
“As far as we’re concerned, we’ve used it as a drinks break, which I think is a good idea because especially in these afternoon matches where the temperatures are high; players need that to rehydrate, so no, we haven’t thought about using it tactically,” said Hodgson to the South London Press.
“It’s harder for us because our players bring out their own individual boxes where each has his water, his bib if he needs a bib, all of those type of things, so players, when a drinks break is called, they disperse they don’t all come in to us as a group. They disperse to their boxes to get their water, or whatever they need to get to continue the game.
“Yes, you get a chance to say a few words to a player or two, but we’ve taken the drinks break at face value – it’s a short period of time where players get the chance to rehydrate and that’s the most important factor.
“In terms of a team tactic session we do that before the game, and we do our post-match analysis when the match is finished in the next day or two. If you get a chance or two to say a word to a player, tactically, you do so, but we haven’t thought about using it. The drinks breaks aren’t that long so it would be a very rushed tactical session [if we did do it].”
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