June 19 2013 Latest news:
Nathaniel John, West Ham Correspondent
Thursday, July 12, 2012
West Ham assistant boss pleased with how squad are shaping up
West Ham assistant boss Neil McDonald was pleased to come through Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood with the whole squad unscathed and injury free.
The Hammers made the short trip around the M25 for their first pre-season fixture on English soil and fielded completely different XIs in each half.
After taking the lead in the first 45 minutes thanks to Sam Baldock’s effort, the home side fought back and duly equalised after the break through giant striker Inih Effiong.
And despite the result not being what the Hammers would have liked, McDonald had other priorities.
“It was a useful workout and everybody has got through 45 minutes and we have scored another goal,” he said.
“We’ve conceded a sloppy one too, but it’s not about results, it’s about building up the fitness, building up the endurance, which is what we’ve been working on for the last week-and-a-half and it’s a really good 45 minutes.”
Apart from the goalscorer Baldock, another player who caught the eye was Ravel Morrison, whose energetic performance in midfielder impressed both the travelling fans and the West Ham assistant manager.
“Ravel is an exciting sort of player, especially when we have got the ball,” he said.
“He can make the final pass and drive on with the ball, which is certainly what you need in the Premier League and that’s another good workout for him, another 45 minutes under his belt to go with the 90 he got in Austria.”
The Hammers have returned for pre-season a week earlier than their Premier League counterparts, but McDonald explained the reasoning behind the staff’s decision.
“We wanted to come back because we have still had a fairly good break,” he said. “We wanted to come back and make sure that everyone hit the ground running, and it gives us a little bit of time to give the players a day off here and there during pre-season.
“If you leave it a little bit later and come back then you are in all the time, you get a little bit tired and a little bit stale.
“We want to work them hard, give them a little bit of a rest, and kick on again and hopefully that strategy works for the first game of the season against Villa.”