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The Black Cats’ manager feels that the mid-season break in the Middle East has been good for his side’s fitness and team cohesion - but says he will wait to see the effects

Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill has revealed he is happy with his side’s training camp out in Dubai and feels it has benefited his squad.

After a poor start to the season, the Black Cats have moved up to 13th place in the Premier League, six points clear of the relegation zone.

And O’Neill feels the mid-season break has helped his side gain some fitness, as well as helping with bedding in his January signings.

"I think it's been very beneficial," he told reporters. "We've done quite a bit of training and have integrated the newer lads into the team, which is important," the Sunderland boss told the club’s official website.

"It's been a change in routine and something I feel we've gained a bit of fitness from. Some of these players have played a lot of games.

"Meanwhile, people like [Kader] Mangane haven't played, while Alfred [N'Diaye] has been working hard on integrating, so it's been good for them."

But O'Neill admits he will have to wait and see the potential benefits of heading out to Dubai, and is focused on preparing the team for the rest of the season.

"We feel as if we've got something out of it, although I suppose the proof will be in the pudding in terms of results afterwards," he added.

"We fly back on Saturday and then begin our preparations not only for the West Brom game, but the remainder of the season."

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