Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson believes that his troops were outbattled by non league English hosts Gateshead for 20 minutes of Saturday’s shock 3-2 friendly defeat.
The Scottish Premiership outfit missed a series of chances in a frustrating match which could easily have seen the Tyneside minnows reduced to 10 men when an early last man foul by James Bolton on Ryan Bowman went unpunished.
“Possibly in a proper game there would have been a red card,” Robinson told the Motherwell Times.
“We don’t want anybody sent off in a pre-season game otherwise it’s not the test that we actually wanted so I won’t worry too much about that.
“The performance today was bitty.
“I thought we didn’t start great and then for a half hour I thought we controlled the game, created chances and probably should have scored.
“But we didn’t and we came out in the second half and the game got a bit scrappy again.
“And I thought they outbattled us for 20 minutes.
“And it was only in the last 10 or 15 minutes of the game that we started really playing."
Despite the disappointment of losing to a non league side, Robinson stressed that the Steelmen would be a much stronger proposition in future weeks with stars like Elliott Frear, Chris Cadden, Louis Moult and Craig Tanner potentially all linking up from the start.
Of that quartet, only Tanner started at Gateshead and Frear came on as a second half substitute.
“With those guys playing there will be a whole different energy and drive in the front line," he said.
“I thought that’s what we were probably missing a little bit today as well.
“Gateshead scored three goals. Two were deflections and one was a great goal from the boy.
“So you’ve got to hold your hands up.
“But we’re not too worried about the result.
“What we worry about is the understanding growing between players.
"We've recruited nine new players and it will hopefully be 10 by Monday."