ALAN Pardew reflected on his team's hardest work out of this pre-season campaign so far against TSV 1860 Munich at the Allianz Arena, but the Hammers boss could not fault the effort of his squad as they fought out a 1-1 draw on an energy sapping evening.
"It was a really tough game for us," admitted Pards. "We travelled on the morning of the game, which perhaps took a little bit out of us and we got held up in traffic on the way to the ground and arrived late, which is never ideal preparation.
"That said, as a team I was extremely pleased with the positives to have come out of the Munich game.
"It was a fantastic setting and a really successful night for both clubs. I also thought both sets of fans were terrific and added to a special atmosphere.
"We're not 100 per cent yet, but came up against an extremely good team and gave a good account of ourselves.
"They tried to play football, they moved us around like a Premier League team would, but we got to grips with it and should have wrapped the game up.
"You need to kill off games in the Premiership and we didn't do that against Munich, and gave a sloppy goal away to allow them to edge a draw.
"But in terms of preparation that was another important step along the way to being ready for Blackburn Rovers on August 13th."
Pards put out the strongest line-up of this pre-season campaign and admitted his delight at the performances of some of his stars considering that the season is still more than two weeks away.
And the Hammers boss is starting to feel that his squad know their places are up for grabs.
"You can see that the players are starting to play for their places," he said. "It was obviously a strong line-up against Munich, but I was very impressed with some of the performances out there considering we are still two weeks away from the season.
"There are things we still need to work on. We've got some real naturally talented athletes at the back, but considering the pace we have in the back four we sat far too deep for long periods against Munich and that caused us problems.
"Our best periods in the game were when we held a high line and our defence can do that because the likes of Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon are not going to get beaten for pace in the channels.
"Marlon Harewood took his goal very well, but he was kicking himself in the dressing room afterwards because he could have had a hat-trick. That's the standard we're talking about now, when chances are at a premium and you can't afford to let them go.
"Although it's good to have come away with a draw, the result isn't the important thing right now and I wouldn't feel any different about the Munich game had we won or lost.
"The performance was the most important thing and the technical ability of our squad, which was brought into question by a very strong team.
"We know that we can improve that, we'll work on it and we'll get better at it before the start of the season."
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