Manchester United are in Dubai enjoying the warm weather and training hard ahead of their Premier League clash with Stoke City next week.
The Red Devils flew out to the Middle East on Monday, three days after their 2-0 win over Derby County in the FA Cup third round, which marked the end of a very busy Christmas period.
The main purpose of the warm weather training camp is to escape the cold in Britain for the sun in Dubai – the perfect way to lift spirits.
It also allows the players to recuperate and – we’d imagine – actually want to get out of bed and hit the training pitch to work on their game.
Jose Mourinho was all smiles on Tuesday (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
Manchester United legend Sammy McIlroy summed it up perfectly, telling the club’s official website: “A bit of winding down will do them good.
“The Christmas schedule really takes its toll and, after some warm-weather training, they’ll be well prepared for Stoke.”
Paul Pogba trains in the sun (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
Michael Carrick returned to full training out in Dubai, while youngsters Kieran O’Hara, Axel Tuanzebe and Scott McTominay joined the senior players on the trip.
Marouane Fellaini was also back training with his teammates following injury.
Antonio Valencia looks to get on the ball (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
Manchester United will train on Wednesday and Thursday in the Middle East before jetting back to the UK for the Potters match.
Talking about his hopes for the trip, Jose Mourinho said: “If we can have time to have a good, nice week to recover some injured players and tired players and, at the same time, work on some tactical details, then I think it would be good for the second part of the season.”
Chris Smalling has a go at a press-up (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
While Juan Mata, writing in his weekly blog about the warm weather in Dubai, added: “It’s kind of weird.
“After a long time with games every three or four days, it comes in good timing for the whole team to spend time together and work in that area of the world with such a good climate, especially in a month like January.”
Marouane Fellaini has returned from injury (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
So has the camp had the desired affect on the players? This question can only truly be answered once the Red Devils return to the UK and hit the ground running with a convincing win over Stoke City.
There are also two more training sessions to go, which will also determine the answer to this question.
Ashley Young appears to be enjoying Dubai (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
But despite this, one thing was very noticeable from the first training session in the Middle East – something that has been missing from Manchester United’s camp in recent weeks.
Mourinho has been down in the dumps over the Christmas period, as have key players like Romelu Lukaku.
The United stars working hard in training (Image: Man Utd via Getty Images)
The amount of smiles and laughs on the training pitch in Dubai however suggested the team has moved beyond this disappointing period and is ready to kick-start 2018 with a bang.
Team spirit is not to be dismissed, and this Manchester United squad look to be on the same page, and, most importantly, being led by a man who has rediscovered his sense of humour.