EDDIE Howe was pleased with the way his pre-season preparations came to a close.
Jay Rodriguez netted the only goal from the spot to beat Premier League Sunderland, and Howe said: “I think it was a good end to pre-season for us.
“In the first half, I thought we were excellent and in control.
“There wasn’t a lot of goalmouth action really for both sides – it was a typical pre-season game in that sense – but in the second half we dug in.
“We knew, with the changes we made, we’d be slightly weaker, but we defended really well and saw the game out in a professional way.”
Both managers felt there might have been a foul by Martin Paterson in the build-up to the penalty, but Howe felt Rodriguez should have been awarded a spot-kick earlier after a challenge by Titus Bramble. He said: “I think the first one was perhaps more of a penalty than the second, because there was a foul by Pato (Martin Paterson) I think in the build-up, but we got away with it, and it was good to score and good to win the game.”
With the result came a clean bill of health, as Howe looks ahead to facing Watford on Saturday: “Touch wood, we’re okay.
“It’s been good in pre-season in terms of injuries. There’s always a delicate balance between how much you work the players and that breaking point.
“This week’s going to be a good week, in terms of doing tactical work, and final preparations, but I think we’re where we want to be.
“Fitness-wise the lads are fine.”