First team

A good workout

30 July 2023

Hearts head coach Frankie McAvoy admitted he was pleased with the way the Jambos acquitted themselves against Leeds United at Tynecastle on Sunday afternoon.


It was the men in maroon’s final pre-season fixture ahead of their opening cinch Premiership match against St Johnstone next weekend and although it ended in defeat, McAvoy believes it was a good experience for the players.


“They are a top-level team,” he told Hearts TV.


“They have Premier League players and I think you could see that today. Out of possession, I thought we were really good.


“I didn’t think they opened us up too many times. There is times where they will be able to play because of the pace they can move the ball at, but in the main, we defended that well.


“We were a wee bit loose in possession. It might take a wee bit of time for the players to believe in themselves and that was what let us down in the first half.


“We didn’t have too many clear-cut chances within the game, but the task was to play a team of their calibre to see the level we’re at and what we need to aspire to.


“So, over the piece, I thought it was a great workout for us, but we need to work in the final third at getting better opportunities in the final third at creating better opportunities, particularly against good teams when you get moments, but on the whole, a good test against a very good team."

Calem Nieuwenhof and Frankie Kent both made their Hearts debuts and the head coach admitted he was pleased with the pairs Tynecastle introductions. 


“I thought both of them did well. Frankie speaks well, he is a leader on the pitch, and I think you can see that.


"Calem showed good moments within the game. It will just take him a wee bit of time to adjust to the pace of the game.


“Obviously, the pace of Leeds is a bit different to what we will face every week in Scotland, but it is good to play against opposition like this.


“The pair of them have just come in this week and have had their first week in training and they have both settled in really well.”