Patrick McLaughlin

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

After our game the previous day, we had the luxury of a bit of a lie-in this morning - breakfast wasn't until 10am so the extra hour or so to sleep off yesterday's exertions was much appreciated.

Then it was out to the training pitch (the same picturesque in Pietrasanta which one we used on Monday) for loosener to recover from the Fiorentina game. Having played yesterday, we didn't want to do too much, but we did some work on technique and worked on shape as well as warming down.

I was allowed to sit out for the last 15 minutes and have a rest, so I had a chat and caught a few rays of the Tuscany sunshine before coming back to the hotel!

With the afternoon pretty much to ourselves after lunch, we went out to watch the Torneo di Viareggio game between Sampdoria and Vicenza, which resulted in a convincing 5-0 win for Samp. They looked pretty good, although Vicenza weren't great.

We had a couple of hours to relax after that before having our evening meal. I just stayed in my room; I'm reading an Eric Cantona biography called The Rebel Who Would Be King by Philippe Auclair so I sat down with that. It's a great read. I bought it the other day to bring away with me - I don't read a lot but I tend to bring a book on trips like this. If it's about football, I'll read it. I like autobiographies and I'm a Man United fan - and when I was growing up, Cantona WAS Man United.

He was one of my favourite players and I admired the way he played so I'm enjoying reading more about him.

On the evening we watched Inter Milan against Bayern in the Champions League. It was a repeat of last year's final, and as good a game as one would expect from those two sides - and it was interesting to note that one of the game's outstanding players, Bayern's Sebastien Schweinsteiger, has previously played in the tournament we're currently competing in.

That gave us a bit of inspiration ahead of our game against Club Nacional tomorrow, not that we needed any because we know how important a win is.

There are 12 groups, so each group winner goes through to the last 16 along with the four best runners up. So we need six points from our next two games, and ideally to score a few goals if we can.

We have to be positive and believe in ourselves, and try and get the win.

And the atmosphere among the lads is fantastic. Even though we got beat on Tuesday, we've been encouraged by seeing other sides in this competition and knowing that there's nothing to be afraid of.

So if we play like we know we can do, we should be fine.