“It is nice to get out here for a bit of warm weather training. It’s a different environment and it is good for the boys to refresh, get together and the training is intense. We know where we are and we know where we need to improve and this is what we are trying to do here. Instead of having days off and going on holidays, we are working hard. We have got a game on Saturday which we will be looking to win and hopefully it puts us in a good position for our next Premier League game. It has been quite productive. We went for a team meal last night and it is nice to see people outside of a work environment, getting to see the other side of people, and it will only strengthen the team chemistry and the team bond.
“I think a change of scenery is a really good thing for you. When you train every day in Newcastle, we love our work, but you can get in your comfort zone but out here it is something different, it is double sessions, we are excited - it is almost like pre-season again. Last year when we did this we come back to England and we did really well. We beat Arsenal, Leicester and went on a little run and our performances really picked up after that. Hopefully it will be something similar this time around.
“It is only a friendly game but CSKA are a big team and a huge club so we will be looking to beat them and get some momentum heading back in to the Premier League. They will be a good side but we have been working hard. Maybe some of the new players and players who haven’t played so much will be able to play with confidence and express themselves freely. Some players can get pressured on TV games, or playing at St James’ or travelling to the Emirates but over here it will be more about players trying to express themselves and giving the manager something to think about.
“Since he (Miguel Almiron) has been in you can tell he is a nice lad. He is really sharp in training and is settling in really well. You can tell he is a good player. You can tell a good player straight away when you see one so hopefully he can make an impact.”