Ian Hendon has hailed the application of his West Ham United Development Squad as they bounced back to winning ways with a 2-1 pre-season victory at Thurrock.
Less than 24 hours after being defeated 4-1 at Grays Athletic, leaving their coach feeling disappointed, the players showed greater resolve, determination and talent to overcome their Ryman League Premier Division opponents.
Republic of Ireland youth international Kieran Sadlier (pictured) was the star of the show, scoring twice, while Declan Hunt and Frazer Shaw were among those who also garnered praise from Hendon.
"We were a lot better than we were on Friday night," said the coach. "Thurrock only managed to score with a wonder-strike from outside the box that wrong-footed our goalkeeper, but other than that I was pleased.
"Kieran has scored two goals and we were a lot more competitive than we were on Friday at Grays. I think the lads who played or watched that game realised what is expected of them.
"They are good footballers but they have got to work hard and graft and earn the right to play. If they do that, then they can show their talent because we have got good players.
"I was pleased to get a reaction from them because I don't want to have to blow my top at them every time we play because then it won't have any effect.
"Playing at Grays as they opened their new stadium - the stadium where the fans had come out to see us and where we will play our home games this season - I think the occasion got to some of them.
"Hopefully now they have got that out of their systems and we will see more of what we saw on Saturday at Thurrock during the season to come.
"It wasn't the prettiest of games at Thurrock but it was a tough test and we came through it."
Aside from Sadlier, Hendon had warm words for Hunt, who has recently returned to action after missing the whole of last season through injury, and full-back Shaw.
"Declan was making his second start back after year out and he did well in the middle of midfield. He came through an hour as planned looking nice and strong. Frazer did well at left-back, too."
The Development Squad continue their busy pre-season schedule with a trip to Blue Square Bet Premier side Dartford, and Hendon is challenging his players to rise to the challenge again.
"They are a Conference side so we will have to step it up a bit. If we match their work-rate and battle then we will be fine."