Newcastle United yesterday lost their first game of pre-season.
The Magpies took on York City and produced a highly underwhelming display that resulted in a 1-0 victory for the hosts.
Michael Duckworth popped up with a great header late on, and Steve Bruce has much to ponder for the coming games.
Pre-season can’t be read into too much, but losing to York City, when a lot of senior stars got minutes, is not a great look.
Here are some takeaways from yesterday’s defeat
Fitness levels need to improve
Perhaps it is harsh to knock the players for their fitness, and it was a hot day, but a quite a few people were looking off the pace.
There was a real lethargy and lack of intensity from the Magpies.
Hopefully, things will pick up in the coming games.
Maybe the return of Graeme Jones will prompt an increase in tempo.
Kell Watts is one to watch
Kell Watts was handed a full 90 minutes against York, and the youngster played well.
The 21-year-old operated as the left centre-back, before moving into the middle when Federico Fernandez went off.
He was composed and generally solid, with his ability to play out from the back being well showcased. He also made one fantastic block.
Newcastle are said to want to sign a new central defender this summer, but perhaps young Watt can stake a claim and save the club some money.
Five-at-the-back here to stay?
Bruce could well change things up, but the fact he set up with a back five yesterday is ominous for the coming season.
Realistically, the chances of seeing a back four against West Ham United on the opening day are slim.
It ended up getting the job done last season, and it’s difficult to see Bruce abadoning a blueprint he’s had some success with.
Matty Longstaff needs heavy pre-season involvement
Matty Longstaff played just five Premier League games last season.
He needs to be heavily involved in pre-season, because the midfield options are not good enough.
Jeff Hendrick again struggled yesterday, and Bruce simply cannot rely on him to be a regular going forwards.
Longstaff did feature in the second-half yesterday and needs to keep doing so in these coming games.