Filed: Sunday, 8th July 2012
By: Staff Writer
Assistant manager Neil McDonald believes that the first week of pre-season has been a positive one - despite it ending in defeat against Austria Wien yesterday.
Having spent the week at the Bad Waltersdorf training camp, McDonald - who took charge of the squad in the absence of Sam Allardyce - oversaw West Ham's 3-1 defeat against Austria Wien at the Franz Horr Stadium yesterday afternoon.
But despite the reversal, he felt that the week had been productive with the squad already beginning to look sharper and fitter than they did when returning from their post-season break.
"The positives are that we've had a good week's training and a stern test," he told whufc.tv. "The lads have done what they were asked to do. We said before the game [yesterday] that it was all about improving our fitness and getting our endurance up. A lot of them played 45 minutes-plus so it finished off a good week, even though we got beaten 3-1.
"The majority of the senior staff are here so, even though they were never going to play or be involved in the first game, it was important for them to come with the lads and do all the training sessions. They've got through all that so they'll be ready to move on to the next stage when we go back home."
"It's been lovely in Austria - the weather has been perfect from when we arrived to when we flew back home and that's the weather you want for pre-season. It's hot to run about in, of course, but I think the lads have acquitted themselves really well considering we have only had one week of training."
Next up for the Hammers is a trip to Boreham Wood this Tuesday, where the Hammers will be fielding a strong side against the non-leaguers. It is a game that will also see the return of Sam Allardyce, who remained in the UK last week in order to continue his hunt for new players.
"That was the reason Sam didn't come," added McDonald. "He's been very busy over the summer. He's been on the phone trying to get deals done and I'm sure he'll be trying even harder in the next few weeks to try and freshen the squad up because we need competition for every place in the lineup."
See below for some exclusive pictures from yesterday's match against Austria Wien...
The first arrivals enter the stadium ahead of yesterday's match
The main stand of the Franz Horr stadium
The view from the away end
Wien compose another attack early in the first half
Stephen Henderson looks on as his opposing number takes a goal kick
With thanks to Ziga Kovac for providing the images.
Ipswich Town 3 West Ham Utd 1 [4th Aug 2012]
Dynamo Dresden 3 West Ham Utd 0 [27th Jul 2012]
Southend Utd 0 West Ham Utd 3 [14th Jul 2012]
Boreham Wood 1 West Ham Utd 1 [10th Jul 2012]
Allardyce: my 'difficult' transfer window [10th Jul 2012]
Strong squad promised for Tuesday [8th Jul 2012]
Video: Baldock's goal [8th Jul 2012]
McDonald's happy still [8th Jul 2012]
Austria Wien 3-1 West Ham Utd [7th Jul 2012]
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