Sam Allardyce has said his evolution of the West Ham United squad is a work in progress as the first-team squad and staff prepare to fly home from an action-packed tour of New Zealand.
The Hammers signed off the Football United tour with a 3-1 defeat to Sydney FC in Wellington on Saturday afternoon and Big Sam admitted the change to a more ambitious attacking style of play will take some time to perfect.
The West Ham United manager still has three more friendly games - two in Germany next weekend followed by a friendly against Sampdoria the following Saturday - before Tottenham Hotspur visit the Boleyn Ground on 16 August at the start of the Barclays Premier League season.
"We're just working on our new style as we've got to get a bit more open and expansive as it seems to be what's demanded in the game now," Allardyce said. "We're working on that side of it but have lost the defensive resilience that saw us get 14 clean sheets last season.
"The football was not good enough to get results but we're experimenting on playing more open and attacking play.
"We never play our best in pre-season and I don't want the players to play their best in pre-season because I want them to play their best on 16 August against Tottenham.
"We got caught on the break twice in the first half because we're trying to open out the play more and more and we left too many spaces. We picked up another injury [Guy Demel's hamstring tweak], which means it's been a bad trip from an injury point of view."
West Ham fell two behind to two counter-attacking goals but the third had more than an element of luck to it when Sydney defender Terry Antonis clearly punched the ball over Aaron Cresswell to tee up team-mate Corey Gameiro, who rounded Adrian to score. It was a decision, or lack of it, that left Big Sam more than a little bemused.
"You all saw it apart from the referee and his officials! It's pretty embarrassing from their point of view. We'd have been a bit more upset if we'd been in a league match as it would have been a horrific mistake. It was at a time when we were working our way back into the game."
Despite two defeats, Allardyce is still confident that once he has his full squad available again his side will be a 'bigger force'. The Hammers have made five high-profile signings already and Joint-Chairman David Sullivan has promised more before the close of the transfer window, in addition to the imminent return to training of Ravel Morrison.
"When everyone is back and fit we'll be fine. We've still got Ravel Morrison to come back, we've signed Enner Valencia, who is going for a work permit. Cheikhou Kouyate and James Tomkins are both out and Guy Demel came off so if we get them back we can become a bigger force again.
"On Ravel, he is contracted to West Ham and once his operation has healed up I hope he becomes a better player as he's been playing with it for a while. If he can do what he did at the beginning of last season that would be great. He had a good spell when he first broke into the team but couldn't sustain it."
All in all, Big Sam summarised everyone's feelings by stating that the Hammers' trip to New Zealand has been a huge success off the field.
"I'm just a bit sorry that we didn't do more for the West Ham fans that came from across the globe to watch the games but overall we've been very well looked after on this tour.
"From our point of view we thank everyone for having us here. We've been well looked after and treated very well. From a football point of view the injuries have been a big worry but we've enjoyed everyone's warm welcome."
FT - Sydney FC 3-1 West Ham United
'The people have been fantastic'