PRE-SEASON is a process of tapering for United manager Martin Ling and the work is almost complete.
The Gulls produced an excellent performance to hold Premier League Stoke City to a 1-1 draw at Plainmoor on Monday night.
The illustrious visitors took a half-time lead through Matthew Etherington but United hit back with a smashing individual strike from Billy Bodin, and the team is taking shape for the first competitive game of the season against Leicester next Tuesday.
“Stoke were effective in the first half and they made life very difficult for us,” said Martin. “We had a few passing movements that asked some questions and we got on top of the game in the second half.
“To be fair, Stoke have done an awful lot of travelling in terms of a tour in America, but they are a Premier League side and they play with a purpose. In the end, I felt we deserved a draw with a superb goal from Billy.
“Pre-season is about tapering to the first game [of the season]. The first few friendlies are played with heavy legs and then you start tapering to the big games ahead.
“If there was a league game tomorrow, we would be ready. We have a week to go and we are looking for that final edge and that final sharpness before the competitive games start with Leicester coming down here.
“The good thing about this summer is the fact I’ve not had to educate them on how I want to play because they know what I want now. Even the majority of people I’ve brought in know what I’m after. It does make life easier if you don’t have to spend time putting tactics and principles into people.
“Every player in pre-season has had an effect and I don’t think anyone could guess my team. I know seven or eight of the positions but there are a couple of places up for grabs.”