FOR 45 minutes yesterday morning, Pep Clotet continued to observe quietly from the sidelines as Oxford United’s squad were put through their paces.

Then all of a sudden, for the first time since becoming manager, he stepped forward and took charge.

Immediately the session changed gear, with the players snapping into action as the Spaniard demanded intensity in a drill based on pressing the opposition.

It was a reminder of just how important this week has become.

While recent training camps abroad have been viewed as vital in re-establishing standards, the arrival of a new manager takes it to a new level.

The time spent together, on and off the field, is precious as Clotet begins to introduce his ideas less than four weeks before the new season.

After a double session in the roasting heat yesterday, more of the same awaits the players today at the excellent Colina Verde resort.

Then it will be on to Albufeira, 45 miles to the west, on Wednesday for a friendly against Middlesbrough where the Yellow Army will no doubt be out in force.

The other big talking point is whether United can add to their squad before the game.

The message from those in the camp is ‘watch this space’ – there are rooms available here just in case.

l FOR the latest news from United’s camp, check out our live blog running all week at