Alfreton Town manager Nicky Law praised his players for their sheer effort, but also their patience, in Monday evening’s 1-0 home defeat against a very good Sheffield United XI at the Impact Arena.
He said: “Like all of these teams that we are pitching ourselves against it’s hard, and that’s why we are doing it.
“They [United] are good young players with some experienced players thrown in. Their movement was good, the passing was good, they were agile and fit and it was a real test for us.
“But, it is another big step forward on our fitness levels and I thought we looked good because we spent a hell of a lot of time without the ball and the players have worked their socks off.”
While Law admitted the Blades had created several chances in each half, he was somewhat critical of the fashion in which his side conceded the only goal of the game.
“I am pleased with the workout but disappointed with the goal,” he said.
“We had possession in the bottom left-hand side of the opposition half and we end up conceding from it but that’s what good teams do, they can play you on the break like that.
“We got dragged about a little bit defensively in the first half and we spoke about it at half time, about not reacting to the players’ movement and keeping our shape a little bit longer, and trusting ourselves and just working across the pitch without the ball, and if that meant them getting balls deeper and turning on it then we are willing to sacrifice that.
“It was important that we kept our shape and we were a lot better second half. We believed in what we said at half time and we went out and put it into practice. I thought we had a good shape about us.”
The Reds continue what has been a demanding pre-season with another home game against League One side Port Vale who visit the Impact Arena on Saturday.