With time to train, São Paulo wants to repeat April’s good performance

Due to the tight schedule of Brazilian football, made even more chaotic by the covid-19 pandemic, São Paulo had little time to train and rest its players in 2021. The backlog of matches resulted in several injuries and a drop in Tricolor’s performance in field.

For the second time this season, however, coach Hernán Crespo’s team had a long break between matches. With almost two weeks without acting, the Morumbi club bets on the period without games to repeat the good performance they had in April.

Since arriving in São Paulo, Crespo had to live with the few training sessions between clashes. Only in March, with the suspension of the São Paulo Championship for almost a month, the coach had had weeks off to lead training and recover athletes.

The team’s best moment of the season was just after Paulistão’s break. In April this year, Tricolor had eight consecutive victories, scoring 20 goals and suffering only three. The streak of triumphs was the longest since 2012, when 11 straight victories were achieved, the club’s record in all of history.

In June, four draws and two more victories ensured 14 games of unbeaten streak. São Paulo had its undefeated series broken in defeat to Racing, by Copa Libertadores, but days later it won the Campeonato Paulista and ended a fast of almost nine years without a title, the highlight of the season so far.

This time, the no-game period is different. Instead of four free weeks, it will be two. At the first break, Crespo was a newcomer to the club and focused on passing on his game ideas to the cast. Now, the Argentine coach has prioritized the players’ physical recovery after so many consecutive matches.

“In this case, the expectation is great (because of the time off), not only to add work, but to rest. Recovering energy is not easy,” said Crespo at a press conference after a draw with Fortaleza, on the 25th.

According to a survey by Alexandre Giesbrecht, historian of São Paulo, in the Tricolor Annotations, the São Paulo cast received only five days off in 66 days between the end of June and the end of August. In these last two weeks, the squad once again had five days without training.

São Paulo will return to the field on Sunday to face Fluminense, at 20:30 (GMT), at Maracanã, for the 20th round of the Brazilian Championship. Tricolor is 15th in the competition, with 22 points.