Hughes: China trip will help us

By SFC Media Sat 30 Jun Pre-season
Photo by James Bridle | Mark Hughes

Southampton manager Mark Hughes believes the team's two-week training camp in China will be of huge benefit ahead of the new season.

The Saints squad jets to the Far East tonight, with stays in Kunshan and Xuzhou, where they will face Bundesliga outfit FC Schalke and Chinese side Jiangsu Suning respectively.

"We're looking forward to it," said Hughes. "The point is obviously to get the majority of the guys back and a few new faces as well, so that's always good to be together as a group for a certain length of time. It just helps the new guys to integrate.

"They're good quality games out there, that's the important thing. You need games that will stretch you and test you as a group, and as an individual.

"I think the conditions and humidity and the travelling always has an impact, but sometimes that can help you. Sometimes playing in difficult conditions can get you up to speed a little bit quicker, so we don't see it as detrimental the travelling and playing in difficult conditions.

"I think the players have got to adapt, they've got to have that capacity to be able to do that, and we're looking forward to it.

"It's a country I've never been to, so there will be opportunities hopefully to see a little bit of it, and that will help with team bonding as well."

if i was just coming in now, we would be behind where we actually are, so we can reap the benefits of that. i'm quite excited.

mark hughes
southampton manager

Having been with the club since March, from when he helped guide the team to Premier League survival, Hughes is excited about this pre-season, with the players already having had time to learn his methods and demands.

"Clearly we're going to benefit from last year," he said. "The work that we had to do, and had to do very quickly given the circumstances, if I was just coming in now we'd be starting that, so we would have been behind where we actually are now, so we can reap the benefits of that in my view, so I'm quite excited.

"The majority of the guys understand what I want, what my standards are, and what I'm asking them to do, so we've got the benefit of three, four months' work that will help us leading into the new season."

In China to back Saints during their training camp? Register your interest in free tickets for the two fixtures by emailing [email protected] or call on 02381 780 780.

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