BEN CHILWELL has revealed how Mauricio Pochettino used a "mental trick" on the Chelsea squad to help build fitness levels in training.
Pochettino, 51, took over as Chelsea manager at the beginning of July and has already made several changes to the squad.
The Blues have bid farewell to several first team stars this summer, including N'Golo Kante, Cesar Azpilicueta, Kalidou Koulibaly, Mateo Kovacic, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.
They have also welcomed some new names to the squad in Christopher Nkunku and Nicholas Jackson.
But Pochettino has been just as focused on improving the squad's overall fitness levels ahead of the new season.
And Chilwell has admitted that the Chelsea manager has even used mind games to push players in training.
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In an interview with The Athletic, the defender said: "We had a funny… well, it wasn’t a funny running session — it was the complete opposite — but something that came out of it was quite funny.
"We did the Gacon (a fitness test named after French fitness coach Georges Gacon, which requires players to run for 45 seconds then rest for 15 seconds) one day and we were meant to do 10 runs, but we got to the eighth and the manager — I still don’t know if he was doing a mental trick on us — said we could stop if we wanted.
"Everyone was on their knees after the eighth one and he said, ‘If everyone completes the next two, I’ll take you all out for dinner’.
"Of course we all finished, and now we’re waiting for the dinner!
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"I’m sure it’ll come, but we just haven’t had time yet."
He later revealed that Pochettino's arrival has strengthened the bond between the players and club staff members, adding: "They’re working us hard on the pitch but they’re great guys off the pitch and they take a lot of time personally — all of the staff that he’s come in with — to talk to you one on one.
"Not even about football things — family life, what you enjoy doing away from football, your favourite TV series, what book you’re reading.
"They take a lot of time to get to know you personally, which then makes you feel more comfortable. That makes you want to go that extra yard, do that extra run, because you feel like there’s more of a personal connection.
"It’s not just a manager and a player; it’s more of a personal relationship where you want to work for each other.
"I have (had that sort of relationship with coaches before), but after (only) two or three weeks it’s pretty rare to feel like you want to run through a wall for someone."
Chelsea have won two of their three pre-season games this summer.
The Blues earned a 5-0 win over League Two side Wrexham before defeating Premier League rivals Brighton in a 4-3 thriller.
They were then held to a 1-1 draw by Newcastle in Atlanta on Thursday.
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