IT WAS A very good workout for us against Borussia Dortmund on Saturday in as good a football stadium as I have seen.
We put in a strong performance, we allowed them some good possession during the first half but, strangely enough, during that time we created our best chances and certainly should have been leading going into half-time.
We went behind and showed great character to come back from that and, overall on the balance of play, we probably had the better chances and could have won the game.
We will learn from these games as we go along and it is about being able to cope with periods when we are not in possession. Whether it is because the opposition are playing a system which passes around you a little bit or they are a more physical and direct side. Dortmund played a diamond in midfield and it was one we had to cope with and one that provided a good experience.
We have had a good record in pre-season over the last two summers and it does count for something. Although the main objectives of the games are team shape, fitness and avoiding injuries, for us it is also important to win games. It is mentality we want right from the start.
Making the visit to Dortmund offered us the chance to sample what we can expect when we embark on away trips in Europe and it went very smoothly. We were lucky to be playing in such a fantastic arena and the organisation there was very good.
You did get the feeling of being involved in a European game - although it was a pre-season one - and it was a good experience ahead of what we hope will be an ongoing one over the next few seasons.
This trip worked out very well in terms of travel due to the fact that the airport, hotel and stadium were within a Robbo goalkick away from each other. If we make progress in the UEFA Cup not all of the trips will be as comfortable, but it was still a very worthwhile exercise.
PRE-SEASON HAS gone well and we feel we are on track. The reality is you don't really find out until the second of third game of the season and, as well as we feel we are doing, if we go into the first game and we are short then we will be asking questions.
It is always a difficult one with balance, trying to get each player the amount of football they need. The international players make a difference to your planning, but it is the same for everybody and on the whole we believe we are going in the right direction.
Chris Hughton offers his take on pre-season so far and the trip to Dortmund last weekend...