Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has praised his squad for their attitude during this week’s pre-season camp in Austria.
The Eagles have taken part in three sessions every day and been instructed to run and cycle the 2.5km to training as part of a demanding schedule in the Austrian hills.
But after a week of hard graft, the players finally got to play football on Wednesday night and took full advantage by putting GAK Graz to the sword in a 13-1 demolition.
Pulis was delighted that the players put in a highly professional and committed display at the Sportcenter Karlsdorf, despite knowing they were pitting their wits against an inferior side from Austria’s seventh tier.
Pulis told cpfc.co.uk: “It wasn’t really about the result – it was about the players putting in the effort.
“The lads worked hard this morning, they’ve worked hard for a week, so they’ll have been pleased to get the ball out and get playing football again.
“They’ve worked hard this week – their attitude and approach to the work that we’ve put in front of them has been absolutely first class, so it’s nice that they’ve gone out there and not messed around.
“They’ve got their heads down and they’ve done it properly, which you’d expect from this group.
“The longer the game went on, the more Graz were going to get stretched. We understand that –our lads are physically very, very fit and that showed tonight.
“The longer the game went on the more opportunities and chances we got.”
Although Pulis refused to get carried away by the result, he believes the rout will give the Palace squad plenty of confidence going into the upcoming tour to the United States of America, which begins on Sunday when the Eagles fly to Columbus.
“We’ll have three tough games over there,” he added. “The conditions will be very difficult as well – it will be very hot and very humid, so again I won’t be too worried about results, just giving the players 90 minutes and getting that fitness into them as much as anything else.”