Craig Hignett admitted that his side still have work to do but insisted he was happy with plenty of things he saw during their friendly defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday evening.
The Pools boss felt his side were outdone by the Black Cats’ extra quality in the first half but said that it was the kind of test he wanted as preparations for the new campaign stepped up a gear.
“I thought we held our own for the first ten minutes or so and were knocking the ball around alright,” Hignett told Pools PlayerHD.
“But then Toto made a mistake for the first goal and when you’re playing against people like Jermain Defoe they’re going to punish you, and he did – I thought he was the difference.
“I want a pre-season game like that though; I want them to play against players like that to see the level they’re at right now and the level they need to get to.
“I was pleased how confident we were on the ball, especially in midfield and although there are things we need to work on, I was relatively happy on the whole.
“It’s only the second game and you’re trying to integrate new players as well as give everyone minutes for fitness so you have that to deal with.
“When you’re chopping and changing like that it can be difficult but I know that among them I have an eleven that will compete this season because I’ve seen them.”
The game was overshadowed in large part by speculation linking Sunderland’s Sam Allardyce with an imminent appointment as England boss.
Reports suggest he will be unveiled as early as Thursday and Pools boss Hignett had words of support for his vastly-experienced opposite number.
“I spoke to Big Sam before the game and wished him all the best whatever happens.
“If that is the case, and it looks like it is, then it’s brilliant for him, I’m really delighted and I hope he goes on to be a big success because he’s a top man.”
Watch the full post-match video interview with Craig Hignett right now only on Pools PlayerHD.