Jaap Stam has been back on the training pitches this week, putting his players through their paces ahead of another wholehearted attempt at achieving something special.
“It’s always nice to have some time off, to go away with the family and we’ve done that and enjoyed it very much. But it’s also nice to be starting again.
“We’re all looking forward to working with the team again
“In the holiday period, some players might like a glass of beer and an extra hamburger – so did I when I was playing! That’s normal. And in the holidays you need some time for yourself to relax, to get everything out of your system.
“Then you can recharge your batteries again. That’s what the players need to do. And now we’ve started. Everybody is working very hard to get into shape, learn new things, different things – all geared towards starting well at the beginning of the season.
“And we’re going to be working even harder than last season!”
The Royals boss accepts that his squad might change a little between now and the curtain-raiser in little over a month’s time, with some players possibly leaving and others hopefully joining the group – but his mind is already focussed on a trip to Loftus Road on the opening day of the league campaign.
“It’s already in my head who I want to start with, what we want to do throughout pre-season to work towards that first game of the season.
“We know the players of course, we know what we want to do as a team – and these first couple of weeks are about getting fit, getting focussed, getting sharp.
“We’re working a lot on the shape of the team, last season we made huge steps in that area and the players should be more familiar with it, which should make it easier for them this summer.
“And, together, we’re working hard to do everything to perfection. That’s not going to be easy, because perfection is very hard to get. But that is what we’re aiming for.”