Sam Allardyce is a contented man.
The West Ham United manager has been happy with the way his players have given their all during the club's pre-season training camp in Switzerland, including their committed performance in Monday's 2-1 friendly defeat by BSC Young Boys - his first match in charge.
However, Allardyce has told West Ham TV that there is still plenty of work to be done in all areas before the Hammers take to the pitch against Cardiff City on 7 August, both in terms of supplementing the playing squad and improving the form and fitness of the players already at the club.
"I think in terms of a pre-season training camp it's been an outstanding venue from many different aspects," said Allardyce, speaking from the team's hotel in the central Swiss canton of Bern. "We're in a beautiful place, have a fantastic hotel who are attending to our needs and I think we're virtually the only people in the hotel at this time of year and that's a big help.
"Down in the valley here, there is a 50-metre pool which has been very good for the morning starts. One or two of the lads are a bit miserable when they're getting up at 6.30 in the morning, but after the pool sessions they've been invigorated for their football training.
"Later in the evenings we've been moving on with the strength and conditioning and sport science lads, so it's been a good exercise up to now.
"There are a lot of young players who have travelled with us who want to make their mark and I think it's very important to get to know them as soon as possible and the senior players a little bit better not just as footballers but as people.
"Hopefully we can pull all that together and by the time this pre-season has finished, I'll have a better overall view of the squad."
Allardyce got his first view of that squad in a competitive environment on Monday, when a young side were narrowly beaten by Swiss Super League side and UEFA Europa League qualifiers Young Boys.
The players gave their all during the Uhren Cup tie in Grenchen, despite having got up for a swimming session at 7am and a full training session in the mid-morning.
The boss singled out England Under-18 international Robert Hall and England Under-21 defender Jordan Spence for particular praise, with the former rattling the upright with a rasping 25-yard shot late on.
"First and foremost, just for everybody concerned, we've been training every day since we've been here from 6.30am. We even trained on the day we played.
"It's not the normal preparation for a game but we felt the lads needed to into the game slightly fatigued and we weren't going to play all of the players for the whole game - particularly the senior players who were given 45 minutes each.
"It was effectively a training session rather than us going for the result. It was a competitive match against a very good side who had beaten Hertha Berlin 4-2 prior to playing ourselves, so the whole exercise was good from my learning curve point of view."
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