Graham Alexander provided insight into how he measures progress in friendlies, when speaking with the media following MK Dons’ pre-season opener with Wealdstone.
The Dons kicked off their summer schedule with a fixture against Wealdstone earlier this week and they will return to action on Saturday when they travel to The Hive to take on another National League opponent in Barnet.
Speaking on what he takes from friendlies, Alexander told the media: “It’s an extension of our training programme.
“We trained (on Tuesday morning) and I spoke to the players ahead of training to tell them to train hard because (the game) would be a training session. We're playing real opposition, but it's just a training day, and we'll continue to work that way.
“We don't want the games to slow the process we have to go through to get us up to speed. We worked exceptionally hard this morning and that will be the same in the build-up to Barnet.
“We have to be ready for Wrexham and not any of the friendlies. We will be working hard until that game, and we will go into all the pre-season games under a little bit of stress and fatigue because we won't slow the training programme down.
“That said, we still need to see improvement and development when we do play and, of course, we want that will to win and to create a winning mentality. But, we have to get a physical and tactical process going first.
“This is a chance for us to identify individuals who need more work in certain areas, and where we need to improve. There are things we can do better (from Wealdstone) and things we did quite well.”
While viewed as an extension of the training programme, friendlies like Tuesday do provide supporters with a first opportunity to see the team ahead of the 2023/24 campaign and engage with the players and staff in a more informal setting.
“It was the first time I could engage with the supporters before the game and it was great,” Alexander said.
“We’ve been a bit isolated with training and behind-closed-doors stuff so this is the first opportunity to do that. We're trying to get everyone to look forwards and not backwards now. We need them with us, so them coming here tonight to support us is great.”