Brian Barry-Murphy says the first few days of his side’s training camp in Portugal have filled him with energy and enthusiasm.
Having arrived on Thursday night, an intense double training session on Friday was followed by Dale’s first pre-season friendly against Portuguese side Sporting Clube Farense on Saturday.
“It’s been a pretty intensive start to the training camp,” said Barry-Murphy.
“The first day after travelling was always going to be a shock to the system.
“But the effort levels were superb, and the application of the lads has been second to none, which has given me a lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm for the week ahead.
“We don’t have to mention the effort or the application to them, because they do everything that we ask of them. That’s been very, very encouraging.”
Dale’s friendly against Sporting Clube Farense saw Barry-Murphy electing to play a different eleven in each half, and the boss was pleased with how his players performed.
“Our players were really excited to play against Farense, because most of us have never come up against Portuguese opposition.
“The test was kind of what we expected in that they were very technical and also a very good team. It was a great challenge.
“You’re always slightly nervous when you don’t know anything about the opposition, but they were of a very high standard and provided a great workout for our guys. I thought we acquitted ourselves very well in what was a very competitive game.
“The main element of the first game is conditioning really, and getting the lads back into the flow of what a game looks like and how it feels.
“You can do all the training and conditioning work that you want, but the minute the ball rolls in a competitive game is when the true test comes.
“It’s been slightly different this year because we had a game straight away, and that changes the whole dynamic of the week, because as competitive as games amongst yourselves are, they never have the same psychological pressures or tests that come when you face an opposition who are new and slightly unknown.
“But it’s a test that I like having early in the pre-season programme because it gets the competitive juices flowing straight away.”