Ole Gunnar Solksjaer will take his Manchester United players away to a £350-a-night warm weather training camp in Dubai following their FA Cup third-round tie with Reading this weekend.
United’s manager and his squad are due to fly out on Saturday evening for a four-day stay at the five-star One&Only Royal Mirage Arabian Court.
Solskjaer has made a big impact since taking over from Jose Mourinho, transforming the mood and playing style. He sees the trip as a chance to bring his squad closer together ahead of their crunch Premier League game against Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham at Wembley on January 13.
Despite the luxury destination, Solskjaer does not intend the trip to be a relaxing break or a reward for his rejuvenated players.
The Norwegian wants to put them through their paces to sharpen up their fitness and use the close environment to assess more acutely the characters he can rely on during his tenure.
Solskjaer and assistant Mike Phelan have gone about their duties with a smile so far, yet the one-time ‘baby-faced assassin’ has not been afraid to show his sterner side.
Jose Mourinho was often left exasperated at how some of the United squad responded when afforded responsibility before games and Solskjaer has underlined how he won’t allow that to seep back in.
‘You speak to the players with what we, as a staff, expect from the group,’ he said. ‘Never ever, ever, ever forget where you are and what badge you are wearing when you are playing because we do have a different history to other clubs,’ he added in an interview with Stadium Astro.
‘We do have a different tradition. We have had the best boss in the world. We’ve had Sir Matt before then. We have a way of behaving and a way of playing.
‘It is so lovely to walk in here and Kath, the receptionist, still wants to be here. There is a reason players come here but there is also a reason the staff are employed.
‘The staff are here because they are the best at what they are doing. If we can have that continuity, with Kath or the kitchen staff, that’s so important. They know what’s expected and they know the culture of the club.’