Jon McCarthy admits he was disappointed with the first-half display from his Chester FC side during Saturday's 3-0 friendly defeat at home to Burton Albion but insists his side are raring to go for this weekend's National League opener at Gateshead.
The Blues were well beaten by their Championship visitors on Saturday, with Nigel Clough's side bossing proceedings for much of the contest with a Lucas Akins brace and one from Stuart Beavon handing the Derbyshire outfit the win.
And McCarthy was less than pleased with the lack of intensity shown by his players in the opening 45 minutes at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium but said that it will be a different story when there are points to play for this weekend.
"I was really disappointed with the first half, it almost had a testimonial feel to it," said McCarthy, who revealed that Evan Horwood's withdrawal from action in the first half of Saturday's clash was precautionary.
"That level of intensity is not going to win us football matches but I have to measure that against the fact there were no points at stake at the quality of the opposition.
"We'll have a look at the DVD of the goals and I think they are going to look really disappointing when we see them. But we'll be able to highlight the mistakes and make sure we don't make the same ones when there are points at stake.
"They are three leagues above us but I'm still disappointed we didn't do more to challenge them. There were five or six players in the first half who were nowhere near the standards they have already shown me."
With Chester set to begin their campaign at the Heed on Saturday, McCarthy is adamant that lessons will be learned from the Burton defeat and that the intensity levels with be right when they face Neil Aspin's men.
"I've been in pre-seasons myself and I know that there is usually one of those performances, and that was ours," said the Blues boss.
"We did have a response in the second half. The lesson we learn from it is we don't turn up for a game in that mood when there are points at stake.
"It almost felt like they were fed up of friendlies and that is how we'll look at it. They're ready for matches now and ready for the season, I'm convinced there will be the right level of performance when we travel to Gateshead on Saturday."
"I do stress, though, that the players over pre-season have worked really hard and come together as a group."