Craig McAllister has been left in little doubt about the difficulty of the task facing him at Gosport Borough this season.
The Privett Park outfit were distinctly second-best in their 3-0 pre-season friendly defeat at the hands of Wessex League premier division hosts AFC Portchester on Saturday.
Southern League premier division south Borough created little and were fortunate not to suffer a heavier defeat. McAllister and his assistant Matt Tubbs were clearly unhappy.
‘It wasn’t good enough and the players have been told so in no uncertain terms,’ said the boss.
‘We have known for a few weeks there is a lot of work to do.
‘It was always going to be a physical contest. We needed to be men out there and at times we weren’t.
‘I think this will come as a wake-up call for some of these players.
‘It was the sort of game we are going to come up against in our league this season.
‘We all know what the league is like and it isn’t going to be pretty.
‘We are going to have to fight and scrap and make sure we do the basics.
‘For me, the basics weren’t there on Saturday and we didn’t do enough.
‘There were one or two bits I was happy with but there was lots we need to improve on.
‘We have a lot of quality in our dressing room but we have to be more competitive.
‘I know some of our players are young but hopefully they will have learned from it.’
Borough fell behind in the fourth minute after AFC Portchester striker Simon Woods was felled in the area.
Woods sent keeper Mark Childs the wrong way with his spot-kick.
In the second half, the Royals missed a series of good chances before goals from Andy Todd and Steve Stone wrapped up the win in the final 10 minutes.
McAllister added: ‘Their early penalty set the tone for the game. It was sloppy.
‘Our standards are higher and we will improve because we will demand it. Gosport Borough will be better than this.’