The Manchester United squad have been enjoying some brief interludes during the daily grind, Jose Mourinho making a concerted effort to break up their training routine.
They come together, debriefed on whatever drill or shape being worked on before the manager begins explaining any single change to Premier League rules, of which there are plenty, he deems fit.
It is a diversionary tactic from the obvious monotony of pre-season. This year that takes on extra tedium at Carrington given Mourinho is busy dismantling Louis van Gaal’s blustering ‘philosophy’ day by day.
United’s players are effectively being coached to forget everything the previous manager implemented during a two-year reign encapsulated by boredom.
Mourinho is wary the transformation will not be perfected overnight and – while making a point of refusing to dance on his predecessor’s failings – was forthright in delivering a pronounced message ahead of Sunday afternoon’s Community Shield against champions Leicester City.
‘It would be easier to get 20 new players and start with them from zero than to get a squad that was previously with a top manager but with different ideas than mine,’ the Portuguese said.
‘It’s difficult to change the way we analyze the defensive organization.
‘If you are a full back and every time you have the ball you pass to a central defender and you repeat that for two years, it is not because I say get the ball and look for solutions in between the lines that they are going to do that [straight away].
‘In training, yes, you stop, you speak, you repeat. In competition, no, the ball arrives to you and you have no time for that. You go for automatic, the instinct, so the dynamic is very difficult.’
Mourinho will grow frustrated on Sunday at Wembley, probably away at Bournemouth next Sunday too, as he waits for improvement to kick in. He has a clear vision of how United should play, zonal marking making a return alongside the removal of a culture of endless possession.
The 53-year-old – who could see Paul Pogba announced as soon as Tuesday morning – spoke passionately about watching United defenders having ‘chased opponents 15-20 meters’ last season and a desire to change their entire shape.
‘I am not saying that is wrong,’ he added. ‘I am saying it is not my way to do it and to say now, we play zonal – you don’t follow the man – and we make the team compact and in between our positions, we mark the movement of the opponent, it is a completely different profile, it takes time.
‘Sometimes we all feel that contradiction between what they are used to doing and what they want to do, and that from the mental point of view is not easy to adapt.
‘We use every minute we have to improve the players and especially to improve the principles of how we play as a team.
‘Clearly you are feeling that I am going to play (Wayne) Rooney and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. I don’t think Rooney and Ibrahimovic are players to play in the counter-attack.
‘We have to be dominant in our game but again one thing is to be dominant by trying to have a huge percentage of ball possession.
‘This is a way to be dominant but another way to be dominant is to play in the last third and to use the best quality of two strikers like Rooney and Ibrahimovic so I have to read the situation and adapt to the quality of the players so step by step.’
Mourinho hopes that clicks quickly after setting his squad the ‘unrealistic’ goal of winning this season’s Premier League title – a move he believes will see them scale unimaginable heights.
‘By creating these you push the team to unexpected levels,’ he said. ‘To win the Champions League with Porto or Inter is unexpected and a very risky objective.
‘To win championships in the first season is a little bit of the same but I like that. People analyze it as arrogant and so on, that’s not a problem for me. The reality is I always feel [for] players, managers, clubs [that] this kind of difficult targets can only help us.’