Sam Allardyce is delighted with the progress he witnessed from his West Ham United side over their tour of Germany.

The Hammers bounced back from a 4-1 defeat to Mainz at the start of the trip, to train solidly and then defeat both Hamburg and Eintracht Braunschweig, notching three goals in each game.

With the season three weeks away, that step up in intensity was what the manager wanted to see and he is pleased with the position the Hammers currently find themselves in.


He explained: "When we first arrived in Germany we put a youngish side out against Mainz, and because we'd won four games on the trot, I think we got caught a little bit cold by the Mainz team.

"They are a bit in advance of us because they start the season earlier than we do. That showed that we weren't quite at the level where we need to be and we got beaten handsomely in the end.

"That turned us around to say we need to get our basics better in the next game. We put a stronger side out, more of the first team, and we came away with a comfortable victory against Hamburg.

"We had the not-so-good and then the much, much better and it's important to see the progression.

"It was a good training camp over the eleven days we were in Germany; we've had good training facilities and a great welcome from everybody here.

"Because of the weather, and the way we've got these facilities, we've been able to focus on having two or three sessions a day. In the end that should stand the lads in good stead for the start of the season on 17 August."

West Ham were among the first Barclays Premier League sides back in pre-season training from 1 July and Allardyce says that early start is necessary with the ever-increasing physical demands of the top flight.

He added: "The change in fitness over the last five years has been one of the biggest improvements of football in the Barclays Premier League.

"You can see the increase in the physical activity that a player has to reach in a game of football from the stats that are gathered.

"That fitness is the first part of our training in pre-season, to get that level as best we possibly can, and then from here on it it's more about the technical and tactical side, mentally switching the lads on.

"Those who are better prepared mentally and physically get the early results that you need and when you get the early results you can see what benefit you get."