The head coach reacts to Wednesday's friendly victory...

United boss Garry Monk says he was pleased with “certain elements” of Wednesday evening’s pre-season opening 2-1 victory away to Shelbourne.

Tidy early goals from Souleymane Doukara and Hadi Sacko gave United a deserved lead going into the break, before Adam Evans pulled one back for the hosts shortly after the restart to make it more of a contest.

Monk fielded two XIs – one playing the opening hour and the other playing the final 30 minutes – a plan which he intends to keep in place for Saturday’s trip to Shamrock Rovers, and he took a balanced view of his first game in charge of the Whites.

“I was happy with certain elements,” he said. “Quite naturally, there was a little bit of rustiness, but that’s natural at this stage.

“It was their first game, their first minutes back out on the pitch.

“They’ve done a lot of hard work out here already, so physically they’re under a lot of stress, but it was a good result. Although it wasn’t really the result I was looking at – it was more about certain elements.

“There were good periods in the game where I liked what I saw, and there were other bits that we need to improve on.

“We need to get better and improve on things, which we will do – but it was first minutes for the players and there was always going to be that little bit of rustiness.

“They’ve been working in a good way, now we just have to fine-tune things in the games that are coming up. Like I’ve said all along, it’s a work-in-progress.

“We have to improve on certain areas but I was pleased with some of what I saw tonight.”

Rob Green was one of the notable absentees from the squad at Tolka Park, and Monk explained the new goalkeeper was rested having had less than a week of training with his new team-mates.

“I have a plan for every player in terms of pre-season – physically and things like that,” the head coach said.

“Rob joined us a little bit later than the others and I just felt that he needed another week’s training to hopefully be ready for the game at the weekend.”

Elsewhere, defenders Gaetano Berardi and Liam Cooper were sidelined through injury, but Monk is optimistic of having them back in the fold sooner rather than later.

“They had slight injuries,” he said. “It was more precautionary than anything else, but they’re not fit enough to play in the games and they’re not training at the moment.

“But they’re not too serious, so they’ll hopefully be back in a few days.”

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