Our 26-man travelling squad took off from the UK earlier today (Wednesday 19 July) ahead of International Champions Cup matches against Paris Saint-Germain in Orlando on Saturday 22 July, AS Roma in New Jersey on Tuesday 25 July and Manchester City in Nashville on Saturday 29 July.
For Mauricio, the chance to test ourselves against top-quality opponents in front of our ever-expanding American fan base represents ideal preparation for the start of the new Premier League campaign next month.
"I think it's exciting to travel to America, to join our fans there and play three very tough games against Paris Saint-Germain, Roma and Manchester City," said the manager as the lads boarded the plane.
"In the end it's pre-season but it can help us to develop and try to arrive fit to start the season. It's exciting to see the evolution of our players and the young players too, and we are looking forward to arriving there.
"(The start of the season) is not too far, it's so close and that is why we need to increase our training sessions to push everyone to try to get fit as soon as possible.
"It's true that always you want to win but the most important thing now is to develop our philosophy in the way that we want to play. It's true that we will rotate a lot, try to use all the players on the tour and we will prioritise different things than the result."
Two players who look set for action during the trip are midfielders Harry Winks and Mousa Dembele. Harry hasn't been seen on the pitch since damaging ankle ligaments away at Burnley on April 1, while Mousa underwent a planned procedure to his left foot straight after the 2016-17 campaign concluded.
"It's very good news – both are training well," said Mauricio. "It's true that Harry needs to recover the feeling that he had when he was injured. He's recovering well but he needs time to be at the same level that he was, but I think it helps a lot with this trip and these games to start to feel the competition again. It's very good news for the squad."
The boss also confirmed that Danny Rose, who is out with a knee injury, will meet up with the Club in America for a brief period during the tour as he continues his rehabilitation process, although Erik Lamela, Heung-Min Son and Moussa Sissoko have been unable to make the trip.
"Erik Lamela and Sonny are recovering from their injuries and Moussa Sissoko has got a virus and cannot train at a high intensity,” he explained. “It will be very hot there, the temperature, and the advice from the doctor is to stay in London, try to recover well and then join us when we are back in 12 days."
From the Academy, young goalkeepers Brandon Austin and Alfie Whiteman, centre-half Jon Dinzeyi, left-back Jaden Brown, central midfielder Tashan Oakley-Boothe and wide players Will Miller and Anthony Georgiou are part of our travelling party and Mauricio is thrilled to be able to give them an opportunity to work with the senior squad.
"They’ve all impressed me in the first few weeks (of pre-season) and with John McDermott (Head of Player Development) we decided to give them the possibility to join us on the tour," he said. "It's a big opportunity for them, a great opportunity to show their quality and why not, maybe we are seeing a player for the future of the first team?"
In addition, Mauricio was delighted with this week’s news that right-back Kieran Trippier has committed his future to the Club by signing a new contract until 2022.
“I think it’s good for us and good for him,” he added. “He made his debut in the (England) national team after the season, I think it was exciting for him and we are delighted to have him for the next five years.”