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2014-02-16T12:37:00 Updated 2015-02-18T22:40:51

Hammers complete Dubai stay

West Ham United ended their four-day trip to the UAE with a lively training session at Dubai Sports City on Saturday afternoon.

The players pulled on their training kit and boots for the final time for a practice match at the facility as they completed a hugely beneficial visit to the Emirate.

Manager Sam Allardyce, who organised the trip through his friendship with Dubai Sports City Football Academy director of football and former Blackburn Rovers defender Michel Salgado, said the players enjoyed the opportunity to train in shorts and t-shirts, rather than the hats, gloves and tracksuits needed back home at Chadwell Heath.

"You can see from the mood of the players how much they enjoy it," said Big Sam. "The amount of games we have to play in December and January is our peak time so the players, physically and mentally, are very tired. So getting out in the sun, relaxing in the sun, training in the sun and enjoying each other's company is extremely important.

"We are the only country in Europe that does not have a mid-season break sadly, so we have to try and fit the trip to Dubai in at times like this.

"The lads can recharge their batteries and experience has taught me that after trips like this the lads' energy levels have increased."


Carlton Cole holds off Kevin Nolan during training at Dubai Sports City

Big Sam has brought the Hammers to Dubai in each of the last three seasons, with the team going on to achieve big things on their return in each of the past two years. In 2012, West Ham went on to gain promotion via the Championship Play-Offs. A year ago, they went on to finish tenth in the Barclays Premier League.

The manager said the use of state-of-the-art facilities in Dubai for the past few days will, hopefully, lead to his squad completing a hat-trick of strong finishes.

"We contacted Michel and asked if we could come and train here and, as always with Michel, he has been more than helpful giving us these good facilities and in particular the grass," said Big Sam. "As everyone knows, it is not easy to grow grass in Dubai but this is a very good surface for us.

"Now the training facilities are exceptionally good and with the warm weather you are guaranteed the sun as well as the exceptional service."

Dubai Sports City were equally happy to welcome West Ham to the Emirate for another successful trip.


Salgado was proud to welcome a couple of very familiar faces in Big Sam and assistant Neil McDonald, saying: "It was easy. I worked with both the manager and the assistant manager at Blackburn Rovers, they called me, told me they were coming to Dubai and asked if we could organise training at our facilities.

"I told them 'Look, we have got amazing facilities, the best in Dubai, I think', and of course it is great to have them here. Having West Ham United here after Swansea City and (Russian side) Anzhi Makhachkala, it is one of the reasons why we have got these facilities.

"Having sides like this here makes the Dubai Sports City Football Academy talked about and stand out - and rightly so given what we have got here. We are absolutely delighted."

Michel Salgado

Big Sam chats to old friend Michel Salgado at Dubai Sports City

Dubai Sports City General Manager (Sports Business) Maqbul Dudhia explained: "We are extremely proud to be hosting West Ham United at the Dubai Sports City Football Academy and I know they have been delighted with what they have found here - with world-class turf and artificial pitches and, of course, perfect weather.

"The club's presence with us is another illustration of Dubai Sports City's growing reputation around the sporting world and we look forward to hosting more top clubs in the future.

"The Dubai Sports City Football Academy is just one of a host of outstanding, world-class facilities we have, with others including the ICC Academy, The Els Club, the Butch Harmon School of Golf and the Dubai International Stadium. All of them are available to everyone, but the fact elite athletes are using them in greater and greater numbers tells you all you need to know about the quality of what we have to offer."

Having won their previous three matches without conceding, West Ham return to action on Saturday 22 February, when they host Southampton at the Boleyn Ground in the Barclays Premier League. Tickets are still available here.

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