Anthony Johnson admitted that Saturday’s friendly against Coalville Town did not provide good entertainment but insisted that things are moving in the right direction ahead of the big kick-off.
Moors are now within a fortnight of their opening game of the new National League North season and the joint boss was keen to reinforce the many positives despite defeat on Saturday.
Johnson revealed that the necessary rigours of pre-season training meant that fatigue could have played a part in some elements of his side’s display against Coalville – but explained that the approach during the warm-up campaign is completely different to that which is employed in-season.
“It was like watching paint dry in terms of excitement if I am being honest, but we’ve worked the lads so hard in pre-season over the last three and a half weeks,” he told us.
“You do things differently prior to a game in pre-season than you would during the season itself and that’s difficult to show. For example, on Thursday night we absolutely ran the legs off the lads in training because they didn’t get the requisite running in during the game at Newton Aycliffe on Tuesday.
“Obviously then they’re going to work on Friday and come into the game on Saturday and a few of them are knackered. From a sports science point of view, you’d never do that, but we wanted to get them on the pitch 48 hours after being tested physically to see how they reacted.
“There was some good stuff at times that maybe the majority won’t see, in terms of top-ups, numbers, forward runs and recovery runs but if you just base it on the performance, then I know it was boring.
“The paying customer coming along wants to be entertained and I absolutely understand that, but it has to be tempered with the fact we’re trying different things and we’re not overloading the lads with information.”
Johnson stressed the importance of keeping in mind the bigger picture when looking at preparations for the new campaign and he insisted that he and Bernard Morley were pleased with the way things were shaping up.
“Results at this stage might not matter to us but they clearly do to some people and that’s the nature of the game,” he explained.
“I care more about partnerships forming, getting minutes into the lads and, most importantly, I care about not picking up injuries so we’re actively telling the lads to take care of themselves in games.
“We’ve already picked up injuries with Jordan Thewlis and Jamie Chandler so you’re playing at such a low-key tempo in comparison to how you will on the first day of the season because you’re trying to get the right amount of work in without risking injury.
“If you break it down over the friendlies, we’ve seen some great stuff and some awful stuff. I have seen positive signs, but you have to balance it. We saw some amazing stuff against Doncaster who have then gone on to beat Championship side Huddersfield, and we saw some awful stuff against Gateshead who have been beaten off Hebburn and Dunston.
“We understand some people’s frustration, but we are focused on the bigger picture – that’s the way it is and the way football works.”