Martin Allen was full of praise for his Barnet squad following their first pre-season friendly on Saturday which saw the Bees narrowly edged out 1-0 by League One side Peterborough United.
Speaking after the game, the manager was clearly pleased with what he saw, commenting:
“I thought it was tremendous. It was obviously going to be a difficult game but we created lots of chances, we very strong and very powerful and overall I thought we did really well.
We played some good football and we moved the ball well about the pitch. I think all the supporters will have been pleased with what they have seen today.”
He also spoke of his pleasure at seeing some of the squad’s hard work during pre-season come to fruition, despite playing on a swelteringly hot day at The Hive:
“Our players are very fit, there’s no doubt about that. You saw it in the first 45 minutes, it was relentless and that’s from the work that they’ve been doing through the summer and also the work that they have been doing for the last eight or nine days.
“Yesterday we did one session on team play and pressing onto the opposition which we did today very well so I’m pleased with that. I was pleased with the spirit and the attitude, the desire to get the ball back as high up the pitch as possible and work the opposition.
“When we did get the ball back we didn’t crumble through exhaustion, we played some good football, passed it on the grass and tried to get our players into some good positions to score. The whole team effect was clear for everybody to see.”
Barnet fielded a separate eleven in each half of the game, both of which included some recent trialists, and Allen admitted that he had been impressed by some of the new faces:
“It was good to see that little pairing of Charlie MacDonald and John Akinde together, and a couple of the other players who have been training with us did really well like Gavin Mahon and Will Antwi.”
The second half also saw the reintroduction of Ahmed Abdulla, with the manager hinting that he could yet make a return to the club for next season:
“There’s a possibility of that. It’s not a favour to him, he’s just got back from being with his family and I always knew that he was going to be coming back to train with us. He can play in that position very well as we saw him do towards the end of last season on several occasions. ”
Allen also spoke of his satisfaction at seeing the results of some of the group’s work off the training pitch starting to show:
“The main thing that we’ve been working on is the players’ fitness and the team spirit and camaraderie. The players have been working on that themselves. They are putting together something that they feel that we all need to work on, me included if we are going to be successful.
Building that respect behind the scenes for the football club, the supporters and the staff is crucial for the players to get that feeling that they can do well. The players and the supporters have all got to have that feeling that we can do well.
It’s been a bad couple of seasons with relegation and finishing so far behind the champions last season so we have got to work out how we can make it happen this year. That really did start from day one.”
He did however reveal that he was still working on bringing one or two faces into the squad before the new campaign gets underway:
“Once we get those other two players to join our group then the supporters might start to nudge each other and think that something is happening. We’ve got to make something happen here and make it good and that all starts in pre-season.”