‘It did open my eyes’ – Fareham boss Stiles admits 8-1 friendly thrashing by Salisbury was ‘unacceptable’
Pete Stiles conceded Fareham Town's thumping 8-1 friendly defeat to Salisbury was not 'acceptable'.
But the Reds boss told his squad to quickly brush off the loss and focus on their final pre-season fixture at Folland Sports tomorrow night.
Stiles insisted the crushing at the hands of former Pompey striker Steve Claridge's side 'opened his eyes' to some areas of weakness within his group.
However, the Fareham boss is not going to get too caught up on the defeat, with the start of the new Wessex League Premier Division season just over a week away.
Stiles assessed: 'Of course I was disappointed, you don’t want to ship eight, but we had a load of players all on the same day had absolute rubbish games and I don’t know where it came from, really.
‘I was very disappointed with us. Out of the eight goals two of them were penalties, one player alone presented them five opportunities, he wouldn’t normally be like that, he just had a real rubbish day.
'They know it’s not good enough, but if you’re going to do it, do it in a pre-season friendly.
‘What I will say, it did open my eyes a bit to a couple of things. It’s no good if you’re going and beating sides because you don’t realise where your weaknesses are until people exploit your squad.'
Stiles says there could be no excuses for such a sizeable defeat, where Luke Slade struck the Reds’ consolation and Dan Fitchett hit a hat-trick for the two divisions higher visitors.
But rather than his players beat themselves up after the thumping, he wants them to bounce back against Folland and next Tuesday's season Wessex curtain-raiser at home to Baffins Milton Rovers.
Stiles said: ‘I’m not making excuses because those who were on there should have given a better account of themselves.
‘If we’d gone out and lost 2-0 or 2-1 or 3-1 or something like that, I’d think, ‘yeah, I’d accept that’ - to lose 8-1 isn’t acceptable.
‘It was just one them days, we’ll put it to bed, move on and move onto Folland - that’ll be a tough friendly to go and play.
‘It is all about getting minutes into people and come the first game against Baffins, who have been doing well in pre-season, we’ve got to be ready for that.'