Roma boss Zeman dismisses reports of 'over-training' as 'nonsense'

The Czech coach, who is in his second spell at the Stadio Olimpico, has a reputation for pushing his troops to the limit, particularly during pre-season
Roma boss Zdenek Zeman has dismissed reports that he is overworking his players as "nonsense".

The Czech coach is renowned for his rigorous training programmes and there have been claims in the Italian media that the former Pescara coach is pushing his troops too hard at their pre-season base in Riscone.

However, while Zeman admitted that he has made changes in terms of diet and fitness work, he insisted that there is absolutely no risk of burnout and hinted that several members of his squad are in dire need of a good workout after the summer break.

"You say we are training hard, but for me that is nonsense," the 65-year-old Prague native told reporters at a press conference on Saturday. "To me, they are long strolls in the woods.

"The players have changed their habits; some do more, some less. But there are no problems, we'll all be fine.

"Preparation is essential; it is the basis on which to build a season. We are here to work, to prepare for the season. It's normal to get tired.

"For now, we are not talking about football with the team; we are working only on the physical aspect, because some players are a bit 'heavy'."

With Gabriel Heinze and Juan currently being linked with moves away from the Stadio Olimpico, it has been suggested that the Giallorossi could do with signing some new centre-backs.

However, the attack-minded Zeman has admitted that he is more likely to strengthen his forward line before the start of the new Serie A season.

"Heinze and Juan? They are Roma players at this time. I have no problems in defence," he declared.

"I have eight defenders and that's enough and, further to this, we might try to use the market to improve elsewhere."

Zeman, who led Pescara to promotion to the top flight last season, is embarking upon his second spell in charge of the Giallorossi, having spent two years at the helm between 1997 and 1999.