Fleetwood boss Steven Pressley says lessons must be learned fast in the final two weeks of pre-season after his side’s poor passing display in the 5-0 defeat by AZ Alkmaar in Holland.
That energy-sapping game was played in extreme heat and so Pressley gave his 25-man squad a “down day” yesterday ahead of the final game of their Dutch tour against Roda Kerkrade at De Treffers FC tomorrow.
The manager said: “It ws not the result we wanted but we certainly got a lot from the game in terms of the heat, the conditioning and the way they worked the ball, so in terms of fitness we are seeing a great improvements.
“We ended the first half 3-0 down. They created little in terms of opportunities but were clinical in the key moments.
“We did not defend the key moments with enough determination and, like the Liverpool game (another 5-0 defeat seven days earlier), there are lessons to learn and a lot of hard work ahead of us.
“Our passing was really poor (against AZ). We continued to give the ball away but these things will come with games and with training.
“The other thing is that many of the players were very fatigued. We trained them very hard in the early part of the week and a lot of them played in games on Tuesday (against Fortuna Sittard) and Wednesday.
“We had hoped to play certain players for only 60 minutes on Wednesday but I had to play them for the full 90 because of injuries in the group.
“But we have got a lot out of it and I have no doubt our condition will be excellent (for the start of the season).
Veteran skipper Nathan Pond was among those asked to play the full game in 35-degree heat because new signing Cian Bolger had picked up a head injury in the previous day’s goalless draw.
And Pressley heaped praise on his captain. “I thought considering the score Nathan Pond was exceptional,” he said.
“He is a real example to everyone. I had to ask him to play 90 minutes and at the age of 31 his performance was outstanding. He showed a brilliant mentality, a great determination and a great pride in his performance.”