Manchester United head to Qatar
Paul Scholes is normally a reluctant traveller - but even he must have been glad to wave goodbye to the Manchester snow on Sunday.
Just hours after their disappointing draw at Birmingham, United were boarding a flight to Qatar, where they will spend the next few days trying to inject some impetus into their flagging season before returning to face Burnley at Old Trafford on Saturday.
And, while Scholes would not use the weather as an excuse for United failing to capitalise on their superiority at St Andrew's, it did not help preparations.
"Players are so fit these days, in that sense having a couple of days off doesn't do you much harm," said the former England star.
"But you do have a routine. You tend to train hard on a Monday and Tuesday, then maybe have a rest day.
"When the weather has been the way it has, there is not a lot you can do at all, last week it was just an hour on Thursday and another on Friday.
"You just hope when the games come round you are ready for them."
The presence of Edwin van der Sar on the trip was a welcome piece of good news, just three weeks after his wife Annemarie suffered a stroke in her native Holland.
Dimitar Berbatov made the journey too, allowing him to be examined further by United's medical staff before a decision is made about the exploratory knee operation Sir Alex Ferguson fears his £30.75million record signing is going to need.
That might force the United boss to amend his aversion to the current transfer market and spend some more of the £80million received from Real Madrid for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Certainly United are under the microscope at present, although that is nothing new for someone like Scholes.
"You thrive on adversity," said the 35-year-old.
"The more it happens the better it is for us.
"We have probably been written off at some stage every season and this year is going to be no different.
"But there is no disaster yet. We just have to prove people wrong again."
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