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Alexander speaks following Sunderland draw

26 July 2017

Manager Graham Alexander has provided his reaction after the 0-0 home pre-season friendly draw against Sunderland.

He told iFollow Iron how he was pleased with the test provided from United’s penultimate warm-up game, which saw his team face the Championship side at Glanford Park.

GA: This was the first serious test we’ve had in pre-season where we can really gauge where we are. I thought the players were fantastic in their work ethic, their discipline and shape. They created a lot of chances, especially in the second half. Matt Gilks had made two fantastic saves in the second period but, apart from that, we’ve defended resolutely and kept them away from our goal. On the flipside, our attacking play was really incisive and we just wanted one of those to be finished off. The goalkeeper made a fantastic save from Kevin van Veen right at the end. We had shots flashing across the goal and hit the crossbar. I was delighted with the challenge we faced tonight because they are a good team with a lot of good players - internationals and so forth. I thought we came through it really well.

GA: They showed their qualities throughout the game. I think the supporters were happy with what they saw and I know the players will bring that in the season as well. They blended into the quality we have in the group. We were tested, they have good players, can move the ball quickly and have pace and power. That was the one thing we haven’t come up against so far in pre-season, but we handled it really well and I was delighted with the performance of the whole team. We need to try and improve that again on Saturday.

GA: We need to be put on the back foot at this stage, with good players where you can’t give them an inch because if you’re exposed they’ll cause problems. The discipline of the players was terrific tonight. We haven’t achieved anything, but we’ve taken a good step forward and shown what we’re about. We still need to improve in certain areas and that’s the work we have to do in the next ten days.

GA: It will be a proper game on Saturday. I know Nathan Jones well, and I know the way he plays and the aspirations they have at Luton. These two final games were arranged because we knew they’d be tough tests in different ways. We’re looking forward to the game. The lads will get their recovery in tonight, and we’ll be back on the training pitch tomorrow.

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