Assistant manager says players have to concentrate on getting fit in pre-seasonCrewe Alexandra's assistant manager Neil Bake admitted that the Railwaymen lacked the finesse and guile to unlock a stubborn Leek defence this evening. Crewe suffered their first defeat of pre-season after Tim Brice got in behind to slot home the only goal of the game past Alan Martin. Although the only goal of the game looked offside, Baker said his players could have no excuses after the 1-0 defeat.
Neil told crewealex.net: "We did have the majority of the ball but we just lacked that little bit of finesse and guile to create good chances and then take them when we did have them. We had some chances but we didn't create as many as we would have liked. We were disappointed with the creativity of the front four but saying that we didn't pass the ball as well as we have been doing in midfield either.
"The goal can be scored at any level you play at but we shouldn't be conceding a goal like that. It is a long ball and the lad has been able to get in behind Mark. Saying that he did appear offside but in this game you play to the whistle and he put it away well.
"We huffed and puffed a bit but didn't trouble the goalkeeper nearly enough. We weren't happy afterwards because the players know that performances like that are not good enough. Pre-season is all about getting fit and ready for the start of the season on August 3rd and that is what we will continue to do. Of course it is disappointing not to put into practice what we have been practicing but that just shows the work we have to do. The players know that if you don't play well then you have a chance of getting beat and that can be against Preston, Wolves or Leek.
"The players trained earlier today, but that isn't an excuse. We didn't do too much with them, a bit of shape and some work but they weren't running marathons. It is all about them being fit, ready and peaking for the opening game."
On the plus side, it was great to see Mathias Pogba back in an Alex shirt for the first time since he aggravated his thigh against Preston in April. Pogba played just under half an hour and looked a handful as he tried to find that elusive equaliser to repeat his heroics of last season in the same fixture.
Neil said: "Pogba is a terrific lad and it is good to have him back. He is a bit behind the other in terms of his fitness but he works really hard. He works his socks off and is improving all the time. We have been cautious with him in terms of the games, but he has trained for two weeks and he is fine. I am sure he will play more of a role at Nantwich tomorrow and will be fine for the opening game of the season.