Maccabi Tel Aviv have held a press conference prior to the departure of the club to their training camp in Austria. Close to 5,000 season tickets have already been sold

Preparations for the coming season are moving apace and tonight the Maccabi Tel Aviv squad will depart for their training camp in the town of Saalfelden in Austria (for updates go to the club's official web and social networking sites). In other news it has been announced that close to 5,000 season tickets for the coming season have already been sold, with the renewal period finishing this coming Wednesday. The squad conducted one last training before heading off to the airport (more pictures at the Maccabi Tel Aviv Facebook page), after which new head coach Paulo Sousa and midfielder Gal Alberman attended a news conference.

Asked about the recent departures of assistant coach Reuben Martinez and fitness coach Juan Torrijo, Sousa said that ". . . the most important thing is the club, the players and the fans. We knew something like this could happen, I've been in football for more than twenty five years and from the moment that (former head coach) Oscar (Garcia) was appointed at a new club we knew this could happen. I wish them the best of luck in future". As regards the rest of the professional staff he said that . . . "The entire staff are part of the club and all their decisions and objectives are my responsibility. We are now looking for someone to join the staff to help us do the best possible job". Regarding new acquisitions, strikers Tal Ben Haim and Omri Altman, he said: "I talked with (sports director) Jordi Cruyff and (owner representative) Jack Angelides and explained to them what the squad required for every position, I want to move on to the next phase where the team is balanced and offers a lot of opportunities to compete for a place on the squad. It's up to the players to provide the coach with as many options as possible."

Concerning Altman, Sousa added: "He has stats and qualities that are missing from the current squad and he can add competition and quality to the team. All the players have the right attitude and are prepared to accept different kinds of game tactics, it's always difficult until the squad begins to gel and that's why we'll want to get him settled in as quickly as possible so that everyone can be focused at practices and at matches, but so far I'm very pleased. We still have two or three positions that will require reinforcement."

Midfielder Gal Alberman took the opportunity at the press conference to comment on the outgoing professional staff: "We had a very good run with the previous staff and we always took into account they might leave. Now it's behind us, we have a staff that can carry us forward and we'll focus on improving. We've been training a number of days now and we're in a good place but we want to get into better shape – physically, mentally and tactically. I think we're on the right track."