Eddie Howe is looking forward to AFC Bournemouth’s training camp in Spain, having plotted a tougher pre-season schedule than ever before.
The Cherries fly to the La Manga Club on Tuesday afternoon, where they will be put through their paces by Howe and his coaching staff for 10 days, as well as facing La Liga sides Sevilla and Levante in friendlies.
As well as that Spanish duo, Bournemouth will face double headers against Bristol City and Nottingham Forest, and Real Betis and Marseille upon their return to Dorset.
And Howe explained it is all about ensuring his side are ready to hit the ground running when the Premier League season kicks off on Saturday, 11th August.
“We wanted tougher games this pre-season and I think that is reflected in our schedule,” said the boss.
“On paper, it’s not easy reading, but we are in the Premier League where every game is of such a high standard that your pre-season has to mirror that, and I believe we have done that this year.
“Pre-season will involve a lot of physical work, football work, double sessions and triple sessions.
“There will be the usual pre-season things you would expect but there will be other things as well, which will test the players in different ways away from the pitch and help bond them together.
“It’s very important to settle the group down and get to know what to expect of each other during a tough season, so it’s an invaluable experience for us.”
It will be a first visit to the La Manga Club for Howe, but he believes the club have picked the best possible venue for their preparations.
“I haven’t been there but I know several people who have, and my staff went out there earlier in the summer to fully look at everything and make sure that it was the place we wanted to be this summer,” he said.
“Looking back at our three previous pre-seasons, to Philadelphia, Chicago and Marbella, they have been very good in terms of where we have gone.
“We have taken the boys further afield, which all in their own right were really exciting and beneficial things to do.
“This year we are returning to Spain, which we enjoyed last year.
“Facilities-wise, I don’t think we will get better. There are a huge array of things for us to do, to challenge them in different ways, which we will of course do.
“The main thing, though, is that the pitches and the football work will be of the highest quality.
“We also have two great friendlies out there, really tough tests, so we are looking forward to those games.”
It will involve a lot of physical and football work, double and triple sessions.