'It's very, very encouraging'

Rome was not built in a day. Likewise, the new West Ham United that Sam Allardyce and Neil McDonald are building will not be constructed in a week.

As the Hammers approach the end of their pre-season training camp in Switzerland, assistant manager McDonald has spoken positively about the progress being made on and off the pitch.

The duo, who combined to such good effect at Bolton Wanderers, are working to instil a forward-thinking mentality during the squad's stay in the picturesque town of Spiez.

There, the players have been put through triple training sessions, while they also fell to narrow 2-1 defeats to Swiss Super League high-fliers BSC Young Boys and FC Basel in the space of little more than 48 hours.

The results of those games will have no bearing on the npower Championship season to come, but the fitness work the players have done during their stay certainly will.

"We're trying to create an atmosphere that's positive after what happened last season with the relegation, and we're trying to give them information on how the manager wants to play," said McDonald.

"They haven't done it all the time in the two games but they have done it and that's very, very encouraging considering we've only been back to work for a week.

"It has been a very, very long week. The lads have been training three times a day and they are tired.

"The games have come thick and fast which probably wasn't ideal after all the training that we've done, but they've got through and showed a willingness to try and do the right things.

"We've still got a lot to work on and still got lots of things that we need to put into their minds. They obviously have to get fitter, which is part of what pre-season is all about and we look forward to starting again on Thursday, because the lads will be having a session and then, when we get back to England, it'll be all systems go again.

"It's hard work all the way to Cardiff City at home on 7 August."

The training camp routine has seen the players and staff up at 6.30am for an early-morning swim, followed by a regular training session in the morning, a rest in the afternoon and a third tactical session or match in the evening.

Despite the tough schedule, the squad has risen to the challenge to a man.

"They have embraced it because it will hopefully educate them that it's the right thing to do, especially when you're in a routine when you get up, you don't do much and you play a game in the night time," explained the assistant manager.

"It's pre-season and the games are incidental to a certain extent. Yes, you have to perform and try to entertain, which I think we've tried to do. We've scored a couple of goals and conceded a few, which hopefully we can eradicate as pre-season goes along, and then progress on things we need to progress on.

"We've still got plenty of pre-season games to get things right. We've played two games already and we've only been back for a week, which is a big ask for the players, along with all the training that we've been doing.

"We've played one team who'll be in the Europa League and one who'll be in the Champions League and they're five weeks ahead of us. I think they've acquitted themselves really, really well.

"Yes, they've looked a little bit tired and heavy legged, but that's only natural because of the work that we've been doing."