The tour of France offered new Sunderland boss David Moyes the perfect opportunity in his first week to get to know his players ahead of the new campaign.
The squad were treated to a plush five-star Evian hotel and training complex, with the best facilities and three games inside seven days.
A packed schedule but what have we learned from Moyes' first week in the job?
1) Vito Mannone winning the race to be number one:
Fresh from signing a new deal in the summer, the Italian stopper is in pole position to start the season as the club's number one goalkeeper.
England Under-21 international Jordan Pickford has been pushing him hard in training but Mannone has impressed Moyes and he is set to start against Borussia Dortmund on Friday.
Moyes named his strongest possible line-up in the draw with Montpellier HSC and Mannone was in goal. The rest of the team picks itself at the moment.
2) Jeremain Lens and Wahbi Khazri need to step it up:
Khazri has scored twice in pre-season, in the 3-0 win over Hartlepool United and the 3-2 win over Dijon FOC in France but he hasn't made much of an impact in general play.
He was one of the star performers last season as Sunderland survived against the odds but he isn't firing on all cylinders so far this pre-season.
Moyes is keen for his players to play high-intensity football and press teams back high up the pitch, Khazri and Lens will have to up their intensity.
Lens has been a constant source of frustration since arriving on Wearside.
Clearly, the Dutch playmaker has the technique but he needs to produce more consistent displays.
3) Youngsters catch the eye:
Moyes can't help but have been impressed with the large core of young talented players that Sunderland have coming up from the Under-23s.
Pickford and Duncan Watmore are well-known but the likes of Tommy Robson, Josh Robson, Lynden Gooch and Rees Greenwood have all made a big impression over the past week.
Moyes didn't have much option other than to play the younger players in games this week owing to the depleted options available to him.
But he will be confident they have what it takes to compete in the Premier League if they are needed over the coming 10 months.
4) System and style of play:
Moyes favours a 4-1-4-1 or 4-2-3-1 formation, with the full-backs pressing high up the pitch, playing high-intensity football.
Do Sunderland have the players to play that way? Certainly more additions are needed but Moyes may have to adapt his style to fit with the current crop in the meantime.
In reality, Moyes has only had a couple of days to work on tactics and shape given the busy schedule, with Sunderland playing three friendlies in seven days.
Time spent at the Academy of Light in the early part of this week is going to be crucial ahead of Friday night's final friendly against Borussia Dortmund in Austria.
5) Moyes is far more hands on than Sam Allardyce:
Allardyce adopted a different approach to training than the former Manchester United, Everton and Real Sociedad manager does.
While the new England boss would often leave it to his coaching staff to lead the sessions, Moyes is very much hands on.
We witnessed it for ourselves in training in France, with Moyes leading most of the sessions, drumming into his players exactly what he wants.
Tactically very astute, Moyes has clearly impressed all of the players we spoke to in his first week in charge.