Mile Jedinak has hailed Crystal Palace's pre-season trip to South Africa as a big success, despite the Eagles ultimately losing in the final of the Cape Town Cup.
After beating South African side SuperSport United 4-0 in their opening fixture in the mini-tournament, Palace fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Sporting Lisbon, thanks to a Fredy Montero brace.
Despite the end result, Jedinak was pleased with the progress the squad has made both on and off the pitch, as they continue to prepare for the 2015-16 Premier League season.
"I think the trip's been fantastic. We've got some really good work in, played a couple of good games, and it's all been about preparation and going forward," said the Eagles' skipper. "We used it for what it was worth and I think we've gained an awful lot out of it.
"It's never nice to lose in a final, albeit pre-season, but it was a great test, the game [against Sporting].
"It was probably about as close as you can get to the standard of an actual league game. I know the boys definitely felt it. It was something we were really looking forward to and the game didn't disappoint."
Pre-season games are far less results-driven than the competitive season, as players continue to rebuild their fitness following the summer break or gel with their new teammates if they have only recently arrived at the club.
Three players - Yohan Cabaye, Alex McCarthy and Patrick Bamford - have signed up with the Eagles recently, and they were all in action in Cape Town, gaining valuable experience with and knowledge of their new teammates. Youngsters Christian Scales and Sullay Kaikai also featured.
"The new boys have been fantastic since they've arrived," said Jedinak. "This was all about them getting used to the rhythm of how we do things. They're quality players and they get up to speed quite quickly.
"We're all looking to make those strides forward by bettering ourselves individually and as a team, and having the likes of those guys in the side is definitely a big lift for everybody."
Asked whether he would be happy to return to Cape Town to challenge for the Cup again, the Australia international said: "I don't see any reason why not! Apart from the final result, it's been a very positive trip, and that's a credit to everyone who has helped to organise it."
Despite the end scoreline in the first game against SuperSport, the South African side put in a determined performance, particularly in the second half - though it was too late to get back into the game. Jedinak was impressed by the quality of the opposition, but not surprised.
"They're in a similar place to us, in terms of building up towards their season," he said. "I actually know a couple of the guys who play for SuperSport from my time playing back home in Australia and I don't think it surprised me, no.
"We watched videos, we analysed everything and I think we gave them the respect they deserved and we played our game. Both teams were at different phases of their preparation for the new season and it certainly made for a good game."