Brighton and Hove Albion boss Graham Potter was forced to adapt training sessions with former club Ostersunds because the freezing Swedish winter turned footballs “into cannonballs” and caused players’ eyelashes to snap off.
Potter is currently unable to perform his regular coaching role as his isolated Albion squad are working on their fitness from home following the postponement of the Premier League due to the coronavirus crisis.
While the 44-year-old is aware the ongoing pandemic is far more serious, temperature issues during his seven-and-a-half-year spell in Scandinavia provided experience of adjusting schedules and training indoors.
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“This is quite unprecedented, but in Sweden we had times when the cold forced us inside,” said Potter, who left Ostersunds for Swansea in 2018 before being appointed by Brighton last summer.
“It’s tricky over there because the sun is shining, it’s a nice blue sky and I thought, as an English coach coming over there, that the weather would be OK, but actually it was about minus 20!
“We did one training session and the lads’ sweat was dripping down their foreheads and literally turning into icicles. Their eyelashes were freezing and then snapping off.
“Footballs were getting cold and turning into cannonballs. That drove us inside but obviously only temporarily – not as extreme as we’re all experiencing now.”
Potter has been keeping in touch with his squad – one of whom tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday – by organising online group training sessions.
He is also contacting them individually to check on their mental wellbeing.
Although the period of social distancing is far from ideal, the head coach feels he has started to develop better personal relationships with his players as a result.
“It’s a bad situation and you’re forced to contact the players in this format and you’re forced to speak to them in this way but it means you’re away from the training ground, you’re away from the club, you speak to them on a more human level, even,” said Potter, speaking during a video press conference.
“Because you’re just asking about how their family are, how they are and they’re asking the same and it becomes a more human conversation rather than a coach-player conversation and that is nice.
“So that’s been good and something I’d like to of course continue. You want to build those types of relationships anyway but this (means) you’re almost forced into the situation. That’s something I’ve enjoyed.”
Potter and his family have been in isolation after his wife showed flu-like symptoms last week.
The situation left him juggling the responsibilities of being a Premier League manager working remotely with the challenge of home schooling his three young children, a task he jokingly compared to “water torture for 12 hours”.
“I have done a bit of PE, a bit of maths, a bit of art,” said Potter.
“I’m getting them to basically make cards to say sorry to their mum, which is essentially my level of creativity in terms of what they are doing.
“You certainly appreciate the fantastic job our schools do for our children and the patience they have.
“They take it in turns to cry and fight so it’s just a nice process of that – sort of water torture for 12 hours!
“The twins are four and my eldest is 10 so there is a clear hierarchy but still they like to challenge each other.”