David Moyes insists that Sunderland’s trip to New York is about building a better team spirit for the long-term good of the club.
The Black Cats boss opted against a more traditional warm winter training camp in favour of a city break, in the hope that time together can forge a bond among the players ahead of a crucial few months for the club’s future.
I’ve done it before and I know how it works.
Sunderland’s players will take in a number of tourist attractions, including a basketball game.
Some are also expected to pay a visit to Ground Zero.
The 4-0 defeat to Southampton last Saturday has left fans divided on the trip; Sam Allardyce cancelling his Crystal Palace player’s training camp in Dubai after their 4-0 defeat to Sunderland.
Many Black Cats, however, have pointed to a need to mix things up and Moyes is confident that is the right thing to do.
He has experience of the trip, enjoying success with a similar venture at Everton.
He said: “I’ve done it before and I know how it works. We’ll train every day, we’ll run we’ll cycle, we’ll keep the players on it. But sometimes going to a training camp can just be more of the same. I want us to build a real good team spirit here, to have a togetherness on and off the field, to help us in this situation we’re in.”
Sunderland’s defeat last weekend was all the more frustrating considering the strides made in the 0-0 draw with Tottenham and the win at Selhurst Park, both of which were high-energy performances that suggested growing confidence and fight in the ranks.
Moyes has said on numerous occasions throughout the season that there is a direct correlation between his team’s physical output and their results.
Part of his long-term plan is to find more consistency on that front and a dressing room spirit and bond is essential to making that happen.
Moyes said: “Not just now but for the long-term, I think the players are showing it on the pitch, they’re fighting hard for each other, running hard as I mentioned. I think a few days together will do them no harm.”
The trip was backed at the weekend by Steven Pienaar, who is one of a number of players in the Sunderland squad to work with Moyes in the past.
He said: “It’s very important to be with your colleagues off the field as well and get that bond.
“The aim is to get everyone pulling in one direction.”