Peterborough United manager Grant McCann has warned his side to start games better or face a tough start to the League One campaign at Rochdale next Saturday (August 6).
Posh conceded a goal in the sixth minute of their final friendly at home to Championship side Barnsley today (July 30), but went on to play well before letting in a second goal in the final stages.
McCann described the Posh summer programme - they won three and drew three of their seven matches - as ‘good’, but he feels there is still room for improvement.
“It’s been a good pre-season for us, but I’m glad it’s over,” McCann stated. “The starting XI is mainly cemented in my mind. The players have all had enough opportunities to impress in matches and in training.
“We’ve structured the matches really well by playing Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, like we would in the regular season and the performances got better as we went along.
“It’s been tough for the lads because we’ve played so many games, but they will benefit from it as the season goes on.
“You can see how fit we are by the way we perform in the second-half of the matches.
“Today’s game was a case in point. I wasn’t that happy with how we played in the first-half, but in the second-half we were very good.
“The second-half was encouraging, but I’ve had to say that a lot this summer. We will need to start games better. If we start at Rochdale like we started against Barnsley we could find ourselves two or three goals down against a very good side.
“You see the first Barnsley goal coming and we had only played about five minutes. We were sloppy on the ball and gave away too many free kicks. They are problems we will iron out before next weekend.
“We got Paul Taylor and Shaquile Coulthirst playing futher up the pitch together in the second-half and they looked much more dangerous as a result.
“Taylor is getting fitter and stronger and he is very hard to play against. He drops his shoulder and goes past defenders with plenty of pace. He delivered a couple of moments of individual brilliance in this game and showed why he was once sold for a lot of money.
“We got 70 minutes into Jermaine Anderson which was good, but when Leo da Silva Lopes came on he gave us some extra energy and a real buzz.”
Right-back Michael Smith (thigh) and goalkeeper Ben Alwnick (virus) both missed today’s game, but should be fit to travel to Spotland next Saturday. Senior players Jon Taylor and Ricardo Santos both made their returns from injury in a 5-3 friendly defeat at Ken Charlery’s Ware FC today. Both players scored.
McCann confirmed Posh are still seeking a left-back following Calleum Elder’s decision to join Championship side Brentford on loan, but one that would probably be an understudy to impressive new signing Andrew Hughes.
Sixteen year-old left-back Lewis Freestone signed a four-year professional contract before today’s game after impressing during pre-season.
Posh pre-season results
Drew 1-1 at Boston United (Tafazolli).
Won 1-0 at Boreham Wood (Maddison, pen).
Lost 0-3 at home to Norwich
Lost 1-2 at home to West Ham XI (Coulthirst, pen)
Won 2-1 at home to Leeds (Coulthirst 2).
Won 1-0 at Brentford (P. Taylor).
Lost 0-2 at home to Barnsley.