Boss sums up mid-season stint in Dubai.
Martin O'Neill has reflected on a useful mid-season trip as Sunderland prepare to fly home from Dubai.
The squad have spent this week at a warm-weather training camp in the Middle East, with the Barclays Premier League giving way to cup action this weekend.
We feel as if we've got something out of it, although I suppose the proof will be in the pudding in terms of results afterwards,
- Martin O'Neill
And O'Neill feels the trip has provided him with a valuable opportunity to work with the squad ahead of a tough league run-in.
“We feel as if we've got something out of it, although I suppose the proof will be in the pudding in terms of results afterwards,” he told safc.com from the team hotel.
“I think it's been very beneficial. We've done quite a bit of training and have integrated the newer lads into the team, which is important.”
O'Neill feels the trip has been of particular benefit to the club's new January signings, with Danny Graham, Alfred N'Diaye and Kader Mangane all flying out alongside their team-mates.
But he says every member of the squad has felt the benefit of a spell training in the Middle Eastern heat.
“We've trained early in the morning before the sun got very, very strong, and then again later in the day,” he added.
“It's been a change in routine and something I feel we've gained a bit of fitness from. Some of these players have played a lot of games.
“Meanwhile, people like [Kader] Mangane haven't played, while Alfred [N'Diaye] has been working hard on integrating, so it's been good for them.
“We fly back on Saturday and then begin our preparations not only for the West Brom game, but the remainder of the season.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland weren't alone in the UAE, with a number of top-flight outfits also taking the opportunity to hold mid-season training camps.
“There's a number of teams out here – for example, West Ham, QPR and Reading – so managers obviously believe there is a benefit,” O'Neill added.