Rickie: Focus on work-out, not result

By SFC Media Thu 25 Jul Club

Striker Rickie Lambert says the squad will not read into last night's defeat to FC Schalke 04, preferring to concentrate on the level of hard work they put in against the German outfit.

Saints dominated the first hour of yesterday's friendly against a side that is less than a fortnight from the start of its competitive fixtures for the coming season.

However, second-half goals from substitutes Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Joël Matip proved the difference at the Stadion Villach Lind in Austria, where Lambert and his teammates have been based since Tuesday afternoon.

The striker admitted there was a clear step up from the standard of Saints' previous two opponents – Spanish lower-leaguers Llagostera and Palamós – and that Schalke's class was clear for all to see.

However, he preferred to focus on the squad's ever-improving fitness levels ahead of their Barclays Premier League opener on 17th August.

"It was a good work-out for the boys," Lambert told Saints Player. "That's a different class of team [to those] we've come up against in pre-season previously, and it showed. 

"I enjoyed the game. They are a good team and are completely different [to Llagostera and Palamós] in every aspect, but I think we did well for the first 60-to-70 minutes.

"They are a few weeks ahead of us in their pre-season so we're not too worried about losing two-nil. If we won six-nil, we wouldn't be thinking we were the best team in the world.

"It's about working hard, and I think the lads did that. Pre-season isn't about the finer details. 

"It's about getting your fitness in – I and some of the lads played for 70 minutes, and that will help me come the [start of the] season."

Lambert and his teammates have been away for two weeks now, having first departed for Spain on Friday 12th July before moving on to Austria two days ago.

And the striker says he is enjoying the squad's time oversea, and is looking forward to continuing his preparations for the new campaign when Saints face Turkish side Beşiktaş in Villach.

"It's going well. It's think it's been really good in Spain and now in Austria," Rickie enthused. 

"We've been together, and we've got to know the new lads and welcomed them in. We're getting closer as the days go by.

"It was nice in Spain, where they had a little secluded spot for us that really helped the boys bond, and now we've come to one of the best hotels I've seen in my life.

"It is a nice experience although it's still about the football and getting to know each-other on the field.

"It was a shame we didn't win [against Schalke] but we're not looking too much into it," he concluded, "and now we're looking forward to Saturday. However many minutes I get, I'll be trying my best to improve my fitness."

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