After starting our pre-season campaign with a dominant victory over Wrexham, it was straight off to Philadelphia, the second stop on our tour of the USA, for Mauricio Pochettino and his players.
The squad departed in the early hours of Thursday morning. Yet there were several players unable to sleep on the short plane journey up the East Coast.
Two of those were goalscorers against Wrexham: Ian Maatsen and Christopher Nkunku. And that duo opted instead to play Uno with their fellow teammates, including Carney Chukwuemeka, before disembarking onto the waiting coach and to our hotel.
The following morning provided an opportunity for the squad to rest and recharge. The players eventually reconvened for lunch and a couple undertook media duties ahead of Saturday’s Premier League Summer Series match against Brighton.
With a little more free time to enjoy before the evening’s training session, several players gathered for more rounds of Uno. Meanwhile, others opted to play table tennis and darts.
It was then off to training and the temperature – and the humidity – was far more comfortable for the evening session.
Those players who didn’t feature against Wrexham, such as Levi Colwill, Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk worked separately from the main group early on before possession drills on shorter pitches took place.
Pochettino and his staff have pushed the squad hard thus far in pre-season. But it is for the good of the players, something Trevoh Chalobah explained when speaking exclusively earlier in the day.
‘It’s definitely what we need if we’re going to compete in the Premier League,’ he explained. ‘There are certain levels we didn’t reach physically and that is something the new manager wants to change this year.
‘So while it has been hard, it’s also been exciting work because we know it is going to benefit us in the season.’