Spencer to ensure Portland Timbers will reach peak fitness

Expansion franchise Portland Timbers need to work hard to ensure they are fit enough for when the 2011 MLS season kicks off next month.

Expansion franchise Portland Timbers need to work hard to ensure they are fit enough for when the 2011 MLS season kicks off next month.

Head coach John Spencer admits his players are a bit off where they need to be but says the next four or so week will be spent getting their fitness to match standard.

“We’re miles off right now,” Spencer told the Portland Tribune. “Miles off. Fitness level, we’re miles off. We’ve still got 30-something days to get prepared and we’ll take every single one of those days.”

Spencer, a former Rangers, Chelsea and Everton forward, knows what it takes for players to make it at the top.

“I tell the guys often that the best players in the world don’t switch it on and off competitively on a Saturday,” Spencer added. “They work hard from Monday until game time. That’s the only way you get good habits, and that’s the only way you build and build.

“I keep telling the guys that to be successful in this league, first and foremost, you’ve got to match teams physically for 90 minutes box to box. When you play, the climate changes, the time zone changes, and you need to be fit to play in this league.

"Athletes first is our mentality, and we need to make sure we get good athletes out there who can play in any climate and go box to box for 90 minutes.”

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