Macca on Monday

Neil McDonald was satisfied with a solid week's work in the heat of east Germany after West Ham United wrapped up their tour with a 2-2 draw with FC Energie Cottbus on Sunday afternoon.

The assistant manager, who was jokingly labelled 'Tour manager' during the trip to Dresden after travelling to Germany to recce the facilities last month, was particularly impressed by the second-half comeback by the young substitutes who were introduced in the second half. Cottbus had been much the better side in the first half but the Hammers found their feet in the second and two quickfire goals from Colin Kazim-Richards and Sam Baldock meant the few hundred Hammers fans went home happy.

"It was a game of two halves. We didn't play very well at all," McDonald said. "The three games in a week and all of the training caught up on us. The boys were a bit tired in the first half and never really engaged or passed the ball.

"We came in 2-0 down and changed the team at half-time and the second-half team kept the ball and were a little brighter and when the chances came along we stuck them in the back of the net.

"It was nice to not lose the final game. It's nice to comeback and show a little bit of spirit there. The boys don't like getting beaten so they showed a bit of fight and got back into the game."

With a 3-0 win against Rot-Weiss Erfurt in the opening game and a 3-0 defeat to Dynamo Dresden in front of a 30,000-strong sell-out crowd completing the week's fixtures, Sam Allardyce's side have been tested to the full. Despite the fact that McDonald is happy with where the squad are at present, he knows there is still plenty of hard work still to do before Aston Villa visit the Boleyn Ground on 18 August to open the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season.

"It's been a really good break. The facilities have been great and we've been well looked after all the way through with the three games we've had. We came for gametime and to keep topping up the fitness and doing a bit of team pattern play which we've done in the three games.

"We've still got a lot of hard work to do with another couple of weeks and another couple of games before the season starts so we'll still be working very, very hard on the training ground making sure we're ready and we don't make silly mistakes.

"The three games that we've played have been good. The competition's been excellent and the tempo has been brilliant. We've got through the whole week with everyone much fitter and with more gametime registered. It's been a really good week."

Although results mean very little at this stage of the season, the fact the Hammers did not lose their final game was still important to Macca. Better still was the fact the squad have got another week of hard work under their belts and, with under three weeks, to go until the big kick-off, he is happy with the way the boys are shaping up.

"The players are where we want them to be at this stage of the season. The last couple of weeks are always the sharper work - the work in and around the box and the final ball and final shot. We'll be building up the endurance and we need to hit the other areas where we need to show a bit more speed and a bit more guile. We've got to want to want the ball more and we'll be doing that over the next few weeks."

Modibo Maiga looked at home on his first start for the club, playing the central striker role in a front three. He held the ball up well and showed some really quick feet and lightning pace during one explosive run that saw him get past three defenders.

"He's shown in the two cameo games he's played in that he's got a good touch and good understanding and is able to interlink play. He's good in the air and looks like he's got a sweet left foot so we're looking forward to working with him throughout the season and we'll be aiming to get him fitter over the next few weeks."

Macca did save special praise for the young Academy graduates Rob Hall, Dan Potts and Blair Turgott who have joined up with the first-team squad for the trip as they slotted in seamlessly with the surroundings. They also had a major part to play in the Hammers second-half comeback with Hall setting up Colin Kazim Richards for the first.

"It's a good experience for them to watch the seniors not play very well in the first half and then come on with a point to prove in the second half. It was a good performance and that showed by getting back into the game and scoring two goals."

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