Luis Boa Morte was pleased to get through last night's win at Bishop's Stortford - especially after feeling the full force of a challenge in the first minute.
The Portuguese forward was back for his second pre-season appearance in the 2-0 victory for a West Ham United XI at Woodside Park. Despite that strong opening tackle, he picked himself up and showed plenty of willing for a competitive contest played in driving rain. His energetic display was capped with the second goal from close range but Boa Morte was most happy to get some football under his belt.
"It felt OK," he said. "I had a hard tackle in the first minute. I was worried I would have to come off injured but it was nothing serious and it got better as the game went on. It was good to get a lot of the game because I am trying to get fit and get a lot of football." Boa Morte's only previous run-out this summer was 45 minutes against the MLS All-Stars in Toronto on 24 July before being hampered by a minor foot problem.
"So far the first team has played five games and I have only played in one of them and only 45 minutes," he added after a solid victory that boasted several other first-teamers including Hayden Mullins, Lee Bowyer and Jack Collison, who opened the scoring. "It was important for me to get through this and get 60 minutes. It was nice to get a goal. I was in the right place at the right time. That was good for me."
Boa Morte is hoping to get another game this weekend with the high-profile friendly at the Boleyn Ground against Villarreal. He knows plenty about the opposition - not least former Arsenal player Robert Pires and their Euro 2008-winning trio of Joan Capevila, Santi Cazorla and Marcos Senna - and wants to be involved. "I am definitely looking forward to the start of the season. We have a friendly game against Villarreal on Saturday.
"We know it is going to be a proper game, a tough game. They are not coming just to be part of the day, they are coming to get football in their legs and the win. They have a good side with good players. It will be a hard game and good preparation for the first game of the season against Wigan."
With the Barclays Premier League campaign getting under way on Saturday week, Boa Morte said there was a determination within the camp to begin on a positive note. "I am feeling confident for the season. It is important that we start well. Last season, we didn't. We got beat at home but hopefully we can have a different start and that is what we are looking for."