Boss – So far, so good

Garry Monk
Garry Monk.

It's been two weeks now with the players and we've done a lot of hard work with them physically, tactically and mentally.

Garry Monk

Garry Monk says his players are right at the levels he expects from them, following their first pre-season friendly.

Monk’s side were narrowly beaten 1-0 on Thursday evening by Russian Premier League side FC Akhmat Grozny at the SK Jenbach Donau Arena.

The only goal of the game arrived after just three minutes when the Russian side fired home from the penalty spot.

Monk used the fixture as an opportunity to give match time to 21 players, with the 10 outfield players being swapped on the hour mark.

“It's our first game and I said before it that we were playing against a team that were quite a bit ahead in their preparations and had played quite a few games already," he said.

“So, in terms of fitness-wise they were always going to be a little bit a above us.

“And the league they play in and the quality they have as well, it was always going to be a tough test.

“For a first game and what you want to get out of it there were some really good things.

“As you would expect there were also things we need to work on and get better at.

“But the players worked hard and physically we looked in good condition for this stage of pre-season.

“They're very much together and have got a great spirit and the key is to make them better players and a better team and try and put them on an upward trajectory.”

Blues are now just over two weeks into their summer schedule and Monk says a lot of hard work has been done already, but there is more to come before the big kick-off next month.

“It's been two weeks now with the players and we've done a lot of hard work with them physically, tactically and mentally as well,” he continued.

“You have to cover all those things and we have a program and a plan and where they are is where I expect them to be so it’s so far, so good.

“We've had a few niggles and a few bumps and bruises, but you expect that in pre-season because the players are pushing their bodies to the limit.”

Dan Scarr (thigh), Steve Seddon (knee) and Dominic Bernard (sickness) did not feature against Grozny. Isaac Vassell is still not quite ready to play his first match.