The United head coach reflects on the first day of pre-season training at Thorp Arch...

“Every day counts” was the message from Garry Monk after the United squad returned to Thorp Arch for their first pre-season training session of the summer on Monday morning.

The players had undergone a weekend of testing prior to preparations for the new campaign commencing under the watchful eye of United’s new head coach, but Monday’s session represented their first outing on the training pitch since the arrival of Monk and his assistant Pep Clotet earlier this month.

“It’s been good to finally meet them all,” said Monk shortly after wrapping up the first session of the day.

“I’ve met a few of them in recent weeks but it’s good to finally see them all and have them in together.

“They all seem in good condition – they’ve come back with a good attitude, which is important, and we’ve got to work straight away.

“Preparation is key, making sure pre-season is looked after and organised and everyone knows where they’re at and what they’re doing.

“Every day counts. Every day we’re covering certain elements that players will need to use, whether that’s physically, tactically or generally in a sense of football.

“It’s important that every day they’re in the place, they’re getting the right information to go forward.”

Monday’s first session was heavily focused on fitness, with the players put through their paces by Head of Physical Performance Sean Rush before ending with some light football-based drills which will become more prominent as the week progresses.

Monk also underlined the importance of starting tactical work early as the United players adapt to the ways of the new coaching set-up.

“We start from day one,” he said. “We were in over the weekend – that was more the medical side of it and testing, making sure the players are okay and there are no hidden bits that we need to be aware of.

“They’ve all come back in good condition - they’re all fine and today we started the first work towards where we need to be.

“Of course, a big element of it today was the physical side of it, in terms of the fitness levels of the players and what they needed to do.

“But there’s also the need – football-wise – to work tactically and get up to speed with our ideas. It’s not about overloading them but we want to make it very clear this is how we want to approach the season.

“The players have been great with their attitude. Pre-season is hard, there’s no getting away from it – it’s meant to be that way to get you in the best shape possible and also to get your football knowledge, your way of working and the plan that I have as clear as possible.

“There isn’t a day wasted – we make sure that we don’t just time-fill anything for the sake of it. Every single session that we have is designed to make sure the players get better in every aspect.

“It’s about gearing up for that first game – we’ve been talking about defensive concepts, attacking concepts, how we work in an environment and the identity that we want to create.

“All of those things are being put in place as we speak. It takes time – it’s not just an overnight job straightaway – it’s a process, but we get these six weeks of pre-season and I feel happy to have that, especially because you can get a lot of your work done and get the players up to the level.

“It will take time, though, even throughout the season we’ll be working on numerous things. But it’s about trying to use the time effectively and that’s what I’m doing now.”

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