With the league campaign kicking off next week, this was Gus’s last chance to see his boys in pre-season. No doubt he is still hoping for a few more changes in personnel before the transfer window shuts but today he gave his main men a start and took another look at those on the fringe and some who surely will only feature if Lee Congerton and his negotiators fail to bring in more new faces. Overall the manager was happy with what he saw today as he explains in his post match e-mail.
Udinese are a very good team who know how to manage the tempo and you need to be spot on, to not make any mistakes.
We nearly gave something away in the first half but Costel [Pantilimon] came up and saved, and from then on we were quite comfortable.
I’m not saying we were the better team by far, but we were in control of the game and knew we would have a chance sooner or later. Overall it was very good preparation and I’m very pleased with the performance.
Santiago [Vergini] is a very good centre-half, but he was so impressive last year at right-back that, with Billy [Jones] out for a few more days, he was a perfect replacement. He gives us plenty of quality on the ball, that understanding, he cares a lot and he is massive [physically]. Sometimes last year I felt we were a little bit small as a team in the beginning.
You want to win games anyway, but when the strikers are scoring it’s even better because that word confidence is always there. Connor [Wickham] will feel fantastic to have scored. The most important thing is that we made a few changes but still had the shape, the understanding.
We will make sure we rest tomorrow and then get ready with a full week [of training] before the season starts.
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