It was a winning start to the pre-season campaign for Macclesfield Town, yet manager Sol Campbell insisted it was all about getting minutes under the belt during their first fixture back.
The score line could have been more emphatic on another day, yet the boss was left pleased with the amount of chances his side created.
“I think it’s all about minutes on the pitch” stated Campbell. “We got tested; Congleton really stretched us in parts. We missed fantastic chances to really put the game way out of reach, but the main thing for me is the guys getting 45 minutes under their belts and minutes on the pitch.
“I’m glad everybody got through unscathed, there was one or two hairy moments and the guys got through it, so no injuries. Maybe a few shins will be a bit sore tomorrow morning, but we should be able to overcome that. Brice had a big tackle, and hopefully he will be okay, the main thing is everybody got through today and that’s what it’s all about really, minutes on the pitch.
"We’re getting there, it’s our first game, there’s a number of games to play and we will get better and stronger and fitter.”
Jacob Blyth took less than a minute to open his Silkmen account - much to the manager’s delight.
“It was good play, he stuck it away well. I’m pleased for the guys to get off the mark and that’s what it’s all about, getting goals, getting into the groove of things and I’m pleased for him.
“It’s good to score for the centre-forwards, to create chances from the midfield and the defenders keeping it tight and goalkeepers pulling out some saves - that’s what it’s all about, getting into the groove and get tested, it’s all about getting tested and getting fit now and also playing a system, so we’re going to hopefully play that system for the rest of the season and get everyone into that.
“It’s pleasing for me to have a situation where we are testing teams from different scenarios, from the left, from forward, from outside the box, it’s very important for me to see that because I don’t want the team to be kind of one dimensional, especially in the last third.
"I want someone who can shoot outside the box, I want someone who is a fox in the box, someone who can come in from the wing and pepper the goal, and put in good crosses, I want that scenario”.
The Silkmen led very early on through Blyth, yet found themselves back on level terms against the run of play on the half-hour mark.
However Campbell insists situations like this can be avoided throughout the pre-season campaign.
“It’s all about concentration".
“We lost the ball on the right side and we weren’t concentrating enough, and it’s gone through to the lad.
'I think for us it’s all about getting fitter and when you get fitter your mental concentration gets better, and that’s what it’s all about. We’ve only been training around a week, and we’ve just got to make sure that silly mistakes are ironed out as we go along.”
As well as being physically fit, Sol explains that the players need to be mentally fit also.
“You’ve got to get into the battle mode, back in the groove, you’ve also got to get serious about football in a sense that this is a friendly but you’ve still got to be mindful that another team can always turn up and get a goal or get a chance if you’re not careful and you’ve got to do that.
"I said to the guys, look after yourself, make sure you’re on it because it’s a friendly but it’s a big game, it’s a big game for Congleton, so we’ve got to move the ball quickly, be on it, then once you get in a situation where you get in a groove and you’re mentally kind of in there you’re not wavering, you’re in the game.”
For the second half, Campbell sent out a team largely made up of trialists, and was happy with what he saw.
“I think it is always difficult to come in in such a short space of time and the teams at this level will have lots of trialists, that’s the nature of the game at this level. We have to see who’s out there, we’ve got to see how they play.
"It’s a good thing for me to see some of the players, the movement, the attitude is very important to me and I saw that with the trialists and its pleasing to see.
"It’s something for me to mull over and make a decision very quickly.”
By Conor O'Hara