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Bruce: Portugal Training Camp Feels Right For Us


12:25 16th July 2014

Shouting out words of encouragement to his players, you get the feeling that Steve Bruce has been looking forward to getting his players back out on the training field in Portugal.

As his players sweat in the sweltering heat, Bruce and his coaching staff continue to put them through their paces as preparations for the 2014/15 season continue apace.

The work is hard, but past experience shows that training camps in this particular part of the world have been part of a recipe for success. Bruce’s previous two seasons in charge of the Tigers have seen pre-season spent in Portugal. The first trip prepared the players for a promotion-winning campaign while the second set the squad up for a record-breaking season that brought a highest-ever placing in English football’s league pyramid and an appearance in the FA Cup Final.

Little wonder, then, that the Tigers are back in the baking hot sunshine with Bruce very much a man for tried and tested ways.

“I’m not sure what it is about Portugal,” admitted Bruce.

“When I arrived at the Club, the trip out here was already set and it was terrific. We’ve kept it pretty much the same since then, although it is slightly different this year because we’re not playing any games out here. We’ve been concentrating on doing all of our preparation work ready for when we return home.

“Pre-season in Portugal has worked in the past and, as you know, I am a big believer in sticking to what has worked before.

“Let’s hope we’re coming back here again next summer.”

While sessions out in the heat are hard and intense, what happens on the training field isn’t Bruce’s only concern.

In his mind, the manager is also plotting how to help move the Tigers forward from their greatest ever season last time round to even better things in 2014/15.

A shot at European football earned through last season’s FA Cup run ensures that 14/15 will be another historic one for the Club, and Bruce is adamant that he will not let the Tigers stand still as he targets further progress.

“Last season has gone. We had a lot of slaps on the back for it and now the real work starts again to try and repeat it,” said Bruce.

“We can’t just stand still and we must guard against that. We’ve tried our best over the last couple of years and, no disrespect, but the squad now compared to back then is unrecognisable. We’ve made huge strides in a short space of time and we must make sure that we keep going.

“We’re in the best league in the world, the most competitive league in the world, the toughest league in the world, so we’ve got to be ready and that is all part of the challenge.”

In order to progress, the squad must continue to develop and evolve. Bruce has already added to the ranks by making last season’s loan star Jake Livermore a permanent addition while Robert Snodgrass and Tom Ince are exciting new recruits.

Bruce is also planning for further additions.

“I think there is still work to be done and we’ll keep trying to do that, but the squad is stronger,” added Bruce.

“Jake was always going to be the first piece of business. I shook hands with him after the FA Cup Final and told him I would do everything we could to bring him back here. He wanted to come here and I’m delighted that we’ve been able to do it.

“We’ve then brought in Ince and Snodgrass for the wide areas because I just thought we were a little bit light there last season, especially when Robbie Brady was struggling with injury.

“They’re settling in nicely. It’s a good group and very tightly knit. That is very important at a club like ours and we have to create that spirit. The new lads have walked in the door and Snodgrass in particular looks as though he’s been here three years never mind a few days.

“That’s all good and obviously the quicker they settle, the better it is for all.”

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