Price vows to 'push boundaries' at Leeds United
Written by Simon Austin — August 2, 2018
ROB PRICE, Leeds United’s new Head of Medicine and Performance, says he will look to “push boundaries” at the club this season.
Price, who was appointed in June after almost six years in the same role at Hull City, is tasked with physically preparing the players for manager Marcelo Bielsa’s notoriously demanding style of play.
The Argentine likes to use a small core of players (he has already told the club that 15 can leave) and demands a high-pressing, high-octane style.
Remembering the end of the 2011/12 season, in which Bielsa’s Athletic Bilbao fell away after reaching the finals of both the Europa League and Copa del Rey, midfielder Ander Herrera said: “I can’t lie to you - in the last months we couldn’t even move.
“Our legs said ‘stop’. To be honest, we were physically fucked.”
Price told the Yorkshire Evening Post’s chief football writer Phil Hay that he was relishing the challenge this season though.
“The more we have players available and on the pitch, the more it’s going to help the team be successful,” he said.
"But, also, can we push boundaries?
"Can we get players back fitter and can we get players back faster? Can we get them to be more robust this season to challenge in the Championship?
“There’s always a balance in the return of any player in getting them back quickly and getting them back so that injuries don’t reoccur. We’ve managed to get players back quickly and our injury rates have been low. That’s what we’re aiming for here as well.”
This is a balance that Tony Strudwick, the current Wales and former Manchester United Head of Performance, has encouraged.
Speaking at TGG’s Cohesive Coaching conference, Strudwick said practitioners were putting “limitations on performance” by being more concerned about injury prevention than pushing boundaries.
Price also graduated last month from the Master of Sport Directorship course at Manchester Metropolitan University.
He explained: “Lots of people from lots of different sports were on the course, from equestrian and swimming to rugby. We visited these different places and all these sports to bring in the best ideas and practice into what we do.
“I’ve spent the last few years trying to develop my management style and myself as more of a leader, as opposed to the medical qualifications I’ve got.
“At a football club it’s not just about working one-on-one. I manage a group of people and the medical department at Leeds isn’t just me. It’s lots and lots of people that work behind the scenes, with the first team, the academy and right down to the kids just coming in.
“You’re dealing with individuals, you’re dealing with players with different needs and personality styles which you’re trying to adapt to. And these days you’ve got to report upwards to the Sporting Director, the Chief Executive and the owner about what’s going on.
"Your management and communication skills are important. I’m not going to be a Sporting Director, that’s not my role, but I was there to be around these people."