Mark Noble has finally admitted that the excursion into the Europa Cup is a hindrance to the pre-season Premier League build-up.
He said quite frankly: ”It is not ideal preparation for the Arsenal game – simple as.”
He explained that after the trip to Malta from which the squad returned at 5am: “When I got in my front door, it was light. We had to come in for a warm-down, so the lads had only two hours’ sleep.
“You don’t want to go and play in Romania three days before the opening day of the season – and at Arsenal away, of all places.
“The football people, the people who understand football know that it is not ideal. But we have to deal with it and, hopefully, we can come away unscathed.
“We have the resources to handle a Premier League season. It is tough at the moment because we have players suspended and those matches are our pre-season games. The suspended players have got to play in one of the other games we have arranged.
“It hasn’t been an ideal pre-season, if I am honest.”