Reading have departed for the heat of the Middle East, with manager Brian McDermott insisting their spirits remain high despite a first defeat in seven matches.
The Royals slumped back into the Premier League's bottom three courtesy of Aston Villa's victory over West Ham yesterday, having carried a sense of injustice away from their 2-1 defeat at Stoke City on Saturday.
But McDermott, who has taken his squad to Dubai for five days in preparation for the FA Cup fifth-round tie at Manchester United, believes there is still plenty to be optimistic about.
"I was proud of the character and resilience once again," he said. "At half-time, we changed to 4-4-2. We had a lot of long balls coming down our throat, so we tried to get a foothold.
"I'm happy with everything but the result and we will keep going. We move on and look forward to our next Cup game.
"It was a tough game. You know coming to Stoke always will be. They've only lost once here this season - to Chelsea.
"We stayed in the game and created chances late on. They had a lot of long balls into our box which you expect. We did okay apart from the set play. We got back into it and at 2-1 I thought we'd get something from the game."
McDermott, who was convinced his side had been denied a "stonewall" penalty when Adam Le Fondre was toppled by Ryan Shotton in the dying moments of stoppage time, confirmed that utility man Danny Guthrie would be staying at home from the trip to the sun so he could remain with his pregnant wife.
The change of routine comes only a few days after several of his players criss-crossed the world to play for their countries last week.
But the manager is keen to preserve the feel-good factor generated by the recent run of four League games that was underpinned by Cup victories over Crawley and Sheffield United.
"We have got 14 points from eight games and, if you can do that, you are not too bad," he added. "We will just have to keep fighting all the way and we will do that."