PEP Clotet declared Oxford United’s pre-season training camp in Portugal a big success as their week in the sun ended last night.

The squad have a well-earned day off today to recover from a tough trip which culminated in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Hull City in Albufeira.

While Clotet described the result as “irrelevant”, the new U’s manager could not have asked for much more from the time spent in the Algarve.

Just a fortnight into the job, having the opportunity to spend so much time with his staff and players has been precious.

When combined with the absence of any serious injuries, the addition of two new signings and a warm welcome from the impressive travelling support, Clotet flew home a happy man.

He said: “Now I know a little bit more about how they think and what motivates them (the players). I’m very satisfied with that knowledge.

“I always believed in the lads and in the ability of the team.

“I go home optimistic because now I believe as well that they will work and sacrifice themselves for each other.

“This makes me very proud to be a part of that.

He added: “On the personal side it’s been fantastic because everyone has welcomed me to the club – the players, the staff, the board, the fans and even you as the press. I’m delighted.

“It’s been very tough because we’ve been getting up very early and often discussions with staff have gone on until late at night.”

Gruelling double sessions in the heat have seen the squad’s physical condition improve as they build towards the opening game of the season on August 5.

And Clotet, whose next challenge is a first game at the Kassam Stadium against Brentford on Wednesday night, was encouraged by the way the players hit their targets for playing time across tour matches against Hull and Middlesbrough.

He said: “It’s been very intense and we have achieved all our goals.

“Physically it was a very demanding game.

“But that was the goal and the result is irrelevant at this moment.

“We wanted to give both starting teams 60 minutes each in the games.

“We actually finished the 60 minutes in both games strongly.”

The week also gave the former Leeds United and Swansea City assistant a glimpse of the travelling

support he can expect this season.

Clotet said: “They have to enjoy their holiday and I’m pleased for them.”