By Chris Slavin
Neal Ardley was disappointed to lose late on against QPR today, but he expressed his satisfaction with the performance and with his squad's preparations for 2018/19.
Speaking to iFollow after the 1-0 loss, Neal said: "For 75 minutes, there was not bundles between the teams. By and large, considering the players we've got to come back into the squad, I was really pleased with the output for 70 minutes. On a really hot day, our fitness levels were good. I thought QPR could not get their game going because our energy was good and our pressing was good at times too. Some of our quality was good as well, it was just in the final third that let us down.
"I thought from set pieces we looked dangerous. Mitch Pinnock's deliveries have been excellent and there are loads of positives to take from it. Obviously, I don't like losing games, I am not going to say that it's all about the minutes. We are disappointed to concede a sloppy goal late on, we would have taken a draw and then said, 'let's move on', but we go forward and there are a lot of positives from today."
When asked about pre-season so far ahead of next week's training camp in South Wales, Neal said: "The boys who came back on the first day of pre-season fit and strong are in a really good place. I am really happy with them. Obviously, new signings have come in two or three weeks down the line. People like Anthony Hartigan and James Hanson have picked up injuries and they've not started with the rest, so they are a little bit behind. We want to get them up to speed. Hopefully, there are one or two signings at least to get over the line this week. If we can get that business done, hopefully everyone will be looking around and saying, 'wow, we have really got something to go with here'.
"The Under-23s are going to have two games next week, so we were comfortable that they were going to get their minutes. For the first-team boys, they have built up from 60 minutes to 65 minutes and now 75 minutes. The boys who have started these games are in a really good place."
Click on the link above to watch the full video interview with Neal on iFollow, which includes the manager's thoughts on next week's pre-season training camp in South Wales.