Dubai visit was ‘not a reward’ says Hammers’ number two McDonald

West Ham assistant boss Neil McDonald

West Ham assistant boss Neil McDonald - Credit: EMPICS Sport

West Ham United’s assistant manager Neil McDonald insists the club’s recent trip to Dubai should not be seen as a “reward” for the players’ efforts so far this season.

The Hammers, who were without a fixture last weekend, returned to their Chadwell Heath training headquarters this week after enjoying a week of warm-weather training in the Gulf State.

They commence their final 12 games of the Premier League season when they play host to fierce London rivals Tottenham at Upton Park on Monday.

And McDonald hopes the recent time spent away will prove to be just as beneficial to Sam Allardyce’s men as a similar trip last year when West Ham returned to win promotion via the Championship play-offs.

He said: “A trip like this is never a reward, unless it is at the end of the season after getting promoted or staying in the Premier League.

“That would be classed as a reward, but this trip was part of our training regime.

“The boys have been working very hard, whether that has been running along the beach, swimming or having daily sessions in the gym.

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“We did the same last year and only lost one out of 22 games, so that is how much going away in warm weather does for the players.

“It refreshes them — not only physically but mentally. Over the coming weeks the players will up their game, their energy levels and the distances they cover.

“It’s no coincidence that five other teams went to Dubai as well, because they are trying to do the same thing as we are.”

West Ham currently lie in 11th place in the Premier League table with 30 points, seven clear of the drop zone.

But McDonald believes they should be satisfied with the team’s display since their return to the top flight.

He said: “Coming into the Premier League is very, very difficult. It’s easy to look below us and say we’re only a certain amount of points away [from the bottom three].

“But if you look at where we are in the table, you would certainly have taken that after getting relegated two seasons ago.”