Barry Gray is paying little heed to the scoreline in last night’s friendly with Derry City and says he was more interested in seeing how Cliftonville applied his instructions as they stepped up their Europa League preparations.
The Reds face FC Nordsjælland at Solitude next Thursday night and, despite suffering a 4-1 loss against the Candystripes, Gray had a positive outlook on his team’s work.
“I was very pleased with what I saw,” he says.
“We’ve picked opposition like Derry for a particular reason. You can see the sharpness difference between them and us because they’re in season and not lifting their game to any heights, while we’re still in the process of doing that.
“We looked at several things within the game in terms of the European game coming up and some of that we will be really, really pleased with.”
The Reds took an early lead through Jay Donnelly but were behind by half-time before eventually falling to a 4-1 loss, however the boss adds: “It’s easy to look at the scoreline and just suggest good, bad or indifferent – but, like I’ve said to the players, in all our pre-season games none of the scorelines are important to us. Our scorelines in pre-season last year were massively positive and it made very little difference to us.
“The reality is our priority and focus lie in the detail of what we’re working on in training sessions, to see if we can get familiarity with it out on the pitch.
“Being the first game and with a lot of changes, I think we can be very pleased. We’ve still two or three players in the panel that didn’t feature so there is a lot to be positive about. The things that we need to work on are things we know we can address and that’s to be expected when you’re this early on in pre-season.”