Stoke boss Tony Pulis visited clubs in Spain and Germany during his team's mini break and picked up some useful tips. And while the Welshman would not name the clubs he visited, he revealed one was Spanish and one German, stressing they were outfits who had plenty in common with the Potters.
The 55-year-old said: "I went to a couple of clubs just out of interest really, to see the way they run and are set up, right through from the academy to the first team.
"They are two clubs that are very interesting for me personally and for our club.
"They are a similar size and very productive in the way they produce young players, so it is interesting to see how they are doing it compared to what we are doing.
"They have similar-sized crowds and both have been successful in the top league. It is nice to see how they do things.
"Spain and Germany have two very competitive leagues and have produced very good players.
"I think it is always nice to have an open mind. They haven't reinvented the wheel - I'm not coming back thinking they have done this and that and that it is all new stuff.
"But there are certain things you do pick up, and certain things where you think, 'That would help us if we could do it in a similar way'."