AFC Bournemouth Women were defeated by an 8-0 scoreline away to Portsmouth yesterday evening.
Fielding a young side after certain players were forced to isolate, manager Steve Cuss played an array of 16-year-olds at Westleigh Park, as the squad gear up for the start of the National League season.
After the game, he spoke with afcb.co.uk about the positives and what his side got out of the friendly.
“It was a tough game,” Cuss began.
“We wanted a mid-week match, knowing that we’d have plenty to come this season. We also looked at travelling a bit further away, knowing we’d have to do that too.
“It’s all stuff that we’re going to come up against this year, so it’s certainly been a good learning week for us against some very good opposition.”
Cuss continued by explaining the obstacles his squad have come up against in pre-season, with plenty of individuals having to isolation and quarantine for various reasons.
“It’s been a little bit dis-jointed as we’re experiencing, like everyone is, the isolation problems.
“We’ve had players that have had to miss various sessions and games. That’s not an excuse, though.
“I think everyone is experiencing isolation in everyday life. We’re experiencing that as a team, we had five players who were isolating for different reasons.
“It poses different challenges, but when people can’t play, it gives opportunities to others.
“We’ve carried on the games and fulfilled all the fixtures during pre-season and that’s been a real positive for me and the girls involved.”
Cuss concluded by giving an update on his squad, with two pre-season fixtures left as well as a three-day training camp at Ashbury Manor in Devon.
“I’m happy with the squad and where they’re at.
“Players are also using pre-season to feel their way back into it and overall I’m very pleased with all of them.
“I think there’s been a real benefit to the ones who have played. They’ve got their minutes and, those who have missed a couple of games, we’ll be able to get extra minutes into them before we start next week.
“I’ve always said the target is 15th August when the league starts so we’re heading nicely towards that.”