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Russ adapting to 'new normal'

The MK Dons boss should have been in Switzerland last week...

11 May 2020

Russell Martin should have been in Switzerland last week undertaking his UEFA Pro Licence coaching course following the completion of his first season as a manager.

Instead, the MK Dons manager was at home, taking part in the course via Zoom, while his first campaign in charge of the Dons remains suspended by the EFL, with uncertainty about when – or if – it will resume at all.

“We’ve had to adapt really quickly,” Martin said while appearing on Sky Sports’ The Football Show alongside Graeme Souness and Jamie Carragher.

“I was supposed to over at UEFA in Switzerland this week [for my UEFA Pro Licence course] but we’ve been doing it on Zoom instead, as is the new normal. It’s been going okay. It’s been full-on but it’s been going okay.

“As managers, we’ve had to find ways to stay in contact and connected with our players. It’s important we help our players through this period and it’s difficult not being able to do that face to face and in person.

“A lot of these players are young and are used to having real routine and structure pretty much their whole life as footballers. They’re told where to be and what to do at what time and all of a sudden that’s been blown apart.

“It’s important to keep them stimulated – whether that’s setting them tasks to challenge them physically and mentally. It’s also about stressing the importance of building structure and routine so that they can come out of this having not just completed Netflix, but having taken something positive from it.”

During the interview, Martin also discussed the financial impact that the Coronavirus pandemic will have on football and, in particular, how that may place greater emphasis on coaching due to clubs having limited resources in the transfer market.

“Everyone is waiting to see where we’ll be financially but I think it will place more importance on working with what you’ve got.

“It will be about good coaching and good management, making sure the players buy into that.”

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