Luke Garrard praised his Boreham Wood side following their 0-2 defeat to Luton Town on Saturday, expressing the importance of that type of test.
It was the Wood’s first loss of pre-season; former academy graduate Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu opened the scoring in the 12th minute, before Olly Lee doubled their lead five minutes into the second period.
However, with Luton in the division above, Garrard asserted his delight that the team matched the away side for large periods.
“That defeat will have taught us more than any of the matches so far,” the 31-year-old said. “It will have taught us more than the 7-1 win at Wingate, and more so than the 4-0 win at Biggleswade.
“I knew that it was going to be a tough test, they are a side who finished fourth last year and obviously lost out against Blackpool in the Playoffs, I thought that they looked strong.
“They play a system that caused us problems and asked loads of questions of what we’re about, I have learnt lots today.”
Paul Benson went closest for the home side, slicing a low Kane Smith cross just wide of the post and Garrard praised the efforts of his team.
Garrard continued: “I thought that we looked good and at times we held our own, a little bit more quality in the final third and we probably would have caused them more problems.
“Overall, it was an exercise that we haven’t had so far this year and I have learnt a lot from the performance today.
“I feel that, with their shape, if we come up against someone like that this year, then it will give us a bit more experience, having played today.”
The fixture against Luton was the side’s first home match of pre-season, and their first on the brand new DESSO pitch.
The Wood manager admitted that the players did not want to leave the field after the final whistle and paid tribute to the job that the club have done.
“The lads just wanted to stay out there and they were eager to get out there for the warm-up, which I have never seen here; at 2.15pm they were all ready at the starter blocks.
“The pitch was fantastic and then there was a little bit of rain which gave it a little bit of a zip, I think that the pitch is going to be fantastic this year.”
The side travel to Hemel Hempstead on Monday for their final away match of pre-season and Garrard expressed his belief that having another fixture so soon will be vital for fitness.
“I think that Hemel will be a very good test on Monday,” Garrard stated. “We played Luton today, who are the league above and we will play Hemel on Monday, who a league below and I think that it is going to be very much realistic to a National League fixture.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t got the lads in now until Monday evening, but I will watch the game from today and go through a few pointers with everyone beforehand.
“I want to really emphasise what we’re asking of them and really nail down that come Monday against Hemel.
“Recovery is just as important as getting game time, so I will mix it up again. We have got Tom Champion coming into the squad on Monday evening and hopefully Dean Wells can play a part as well.
“The games are coming thick and fast, there are three games now in a seven-day period and for us that is massive. Hopefully we can hone-in what we’re asking of them and come Monday, we can be the Luton against Hemel.”