Chester FC joint-manager Anthony Johnson believed there were more negatives than positives after watching his and Bernard Morley's side claim a 5-3 win over Runcorn Linnets on Saturday afternoon.
In sweltering conditions the Blues edged a back and forth contest with the Evo-Stik West Division side thanks to a brace from a trialist striker, an own goal, a John Pritchard penalty and a Steve Howson header.
But despite the win - Chester's second of pre-season - Johnson was far from delighted when facing the media after the game.
"There were more negatives than positives," he said.
"We said at half time that potentially that is your back five going into the season - senior players - we conceded in the first half, awful, and they had so many chances.
"There is a lot of work to do in certain areas but we haven't done any work in terms of technical or tactical stuff whatsoever in three weeks so actually we are halfway into our pre-season and it has all been physical. We've said to the lads first few friendlies to go out, enjoy it and get your minutes. We've not given them any identity about how we are going to play, with the ball or without it.
"Now is the time to we start to nail things down and identify what we look like.
"We've won 5-3 with a couple of well-worked goals and some good stuff early on. However, some of the sloppyness that lead to chances needs to be ironed out. It was almost a free hit for them but I said to them at half time I am going to have to judge them a little bit earlier. One or two of them are under no illusions about what they need to do to be in the team in three weeks.
"There will be players coming in. Not players that will be coming to pad the squad out but players for the starting 11. Some players need to buck up their ideas and they know that.
"I said last week that I wasn't going to be over critical but I have just tore strips of some of them in there. There were a few positives, a lot more negatives, but it is what it is and now is the time to nail them down."
One person who did impress Johnson was the trialist front man who netted twice
Johnson and Morley are keen to keep the identity of their trialists under wraps for as long as they can but they were pleased with what they saw from the forward, who played in both the Liverpool and Ramsbottom United friendlies. He has considerable Football League experience.
When asked if he had been pleased with what he had seen, Johnson said: "Absolutely. For him it is all about his fitness. We are not judging him on performances as we know what he is capable of.
"He is what he is, he is a targetman. He is a big strapping targetman that understands the game and is an intelligent player. We are seeing the graft that he has been putting in. It was a decent performance from him. We asked him to earn a deal and he is doing that the right way. He is doing OK."