MK Dons boss Robbie Neilson was encouraged by his side’s showing in their pre-season opener at Stadium MK.
Neilson’s men pushed Sky Bet Championship side Brentford all the way with Ryan Seager breaking the deadlock and restoring the lead but, ultimately, they fell to a 3-2 defeat.
“I was really pleased with the performance and standard of play at times,” he told iFollow MK Dons.
“There are a lot of positives to take against a top Championship side. We ran them close. We looked strong, we passed it well, we were aggressive and it was a good performance all round.
“The new lads are starting to get to where we want them to be. With the likes of Ryan Seager and Ethan Ebanks-Landell, fitness wise they still have to get there but there's a lot of improvement to come.”
On goalscorer Seager, the 37-year-old said: “I'm delighted for Ryan - he's a goalscorer. He's desperate to score. Kieran did the hard work and he's there to finish it - that's what we want from him. He gets into the six-yard box and, when his fitness improves, his levels will go up as well.”
The friendly with the Bees was the Dons’ penultimate outing ahead of the 2017/18 opener with Wigan Athletic.
Neilson said: “It's about getting there gradually. The most important thing is that Wigan game. We're approaching each game coming down a bit now.
“In Hungary, we were doing double sessions before each game. Now we're training before the games, we're gradually easing off them so they should be in better condition before the Leicester game.
“For me, it's just about the first game. Not that I don't care about the performance, but I'm making sure we don't get injuries and implement what we're trying to do. It’s hard when we're bringing in so many new players, and I want another couple to come in, to alter things again. If it was up to me, we'd just start the season straight away.”
The boss concluded by offering an update on his search for further signings.
He said: “We want good players and we're aiming for two or three. I'd like to get that but who knows towards the end of the window. I don't want to put a time limit on it because you can think these things will happen but then don't. Things are always going on in the background - getting them over the line is the hard part.”