Raul Meireles believes the heat and intensity of Miami training sessions is aiding his race for fitness before the start of the season.
The 29-year-old was a semi-finalist at the European Championships with Portugal this summer, and so enjoyed a prolonged holiday while others began pre-season back in England, only linking up with the squad last week in New York.
Since then the midfielder has had a busy schedule of double sessions with fitness coach Chris Jones, and after 30 minutes against the MLS All-Stars in Philadelphia, Meireles is hoping for more action when we take on AC Milan at Sun Life Stadium tonight.
'I am happy to be here, of course anyone would enjoy more holiday but it's good to be back with the team, and the weather is amazing here in Miami,' he said.
'It is almost too hot really, it makes the sessions more difficult but we know how Roberto Di Matteo works and the training is always enjoyable, and this weather will be very helpful for our fitness when we return to England.
'I feel I am catching up and I have done some extra work to help me to get fit as soon as possible,' he continued. 'I am hoping to play more time against Milan to build my fitness, and although it is a friendly for us we do not want to lose, we want to win. Even though the aim is to get fit we want to win the game in a very good stadium. The pitch is a bit different to what we are used to but the surface is very good.'
We fly straight back to England after the match against Milan, with preparation for the season to continue at Cobham. Meireles, who has spent time with his team-mates by the pool in their downtime, admits it may be a drag to leave the Florida sunshine behind.
'I am enjoying this weather, so I'm not desperate to get back to England, but we are on a good road to the start of the season, and when we get back we have one more friendly in Brighton and then it gets serious. I am sure everybody will be ready,' he said.