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Derek McInnes | Quotes from the manager

January 11, 2018 12:15 pm Author: AFC Media Team
Derek McInnes

“With us getting in in the early hours, the players never got much sleep as we had to get them out their beds and working and moving again this morning.

“It’s productive because we’ve had a good session this afternoon, which is always good when you’ve got as good a surface as the pitches are here. There’s natural enthusiasm from the players, especially for that first day proper back. We got some good work in and it’s clear the players have missed being about each other, but you can see they’ve been looking themselves.

“It was a good session and that’s two sessions down now. We’ll get some more work with the players tomorrow, but it’s good to have them back, it’s good to be in about each other and I’ve really enjoyed the day’s work.

“It’s brilliant here. A huge plus point for us to come back here was the pitches and they’re even better than they were last year. We’re really pleased with it and as players you can’t help but get on that training pitch and do as much as you can. I enjoyed the work today. There’s one or two players still coming back from injury.

“Stevie May and Niall have been doing work with the physios and Graham Kirk so hopefully we’ll get them integrated a bit more with the rest of the team over the week. We’ve got a few youngsters out here and I think this is a worthwhile trip. I said it last year and I hope it can be that again.

“Chidi is a player we’ve looked at over the past couple of months. Manchester City and ourselves have got a decent relationship and we’ve always kept in open dialogue with them. They’ve got numerous players they need to get out playing football and while we have not been able to bring anybody up until now, we’ve always had that relationship with them. They see us a good club for them to showcase their youngsters and give them that experience.

“Chidi was one we felt could have been a possibility for January and we’ve been monitoring his work over the last couple of months. With Greg Tansey moving on it was one we felt left us a little light in the middle of the park so Chidi comes in, subject to a work permit being granted.

“He’s settled in great and he’s had a good day’s work. He flew out on his own last night, came in in the early ours of this morning and was really keen to get involved. Hopefully we can get him in an Aberdeen shirt before too long.

“What we like about him is he’s got real energy, but also someone who can work the ball well, as you’d expect from someone from Manchester City. Whether he plays in a defined role as a centre midfielder or one where he can get about in there, I think he can do both.

“That flexibility for those midfield positions is good for us. He’s one in there that can turn the ball over, he brings good energy, but also one that can get on the ball and make things happen for us. He’s got a bit of everything from what you want from all your central midfield players. I think he’ll fit in well because it’s so important for him to try and be part of the Nigeria squad for the World Cup. There’s an importance for him to play regularly and showcase himself and at our Club hopefully we get the benefit of that.

“We were talking about that (potentially playing Kari Arnason at the World Cup) earlier on and Shay said to him he’s got nothing to worry about with Iceland as he’s seen them play a few times. That would be something special and we’ve spoken before about how special it is for Arnason representing Iceland at the World Cup.

“Both players will have that motivation in the second part of the campaign to make sure they’re in good form, firstly to be involved in the squad and hopefully ready to take part. Hopefully both boys can do exactly that.

“I believe Lokamotiv are top of their league and I watched a bit of their training this morning. They are very similar to the Uzbekistan team we played last year. They handle the ball well and have a good size about them, so they’ll be a formidable opponent. Although it’s only a friendly we still want to make sure it’s a competitive enough game. It’s important that we are more game-ready for the St Mirren game and hopefully we can enjoy the game. I think it’s good for the players to work towards that this week.

“You don’t want to be training for training sake, but when you’ve got an opportunity of a game at the end of it I think that’s important on a training camp. It will be a tough game, but equally hopefully it will be a tough game for them. I think the important thing is getting the players fired up and up to speed, but also you don’t go back with any injuries. We’re hoping Niall and Stevie can be a bit closer to being involved.

“Whether they’re involved in that game, I have my doubts, but certainly be involved in the St Mirren game. Hopefully we can fine tune the players this week and be ready to go again when we get back to Aberdeen.”

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