CHERRIES manager Scott Parker is pleased by his start as boss and insists “the players have been first class, real focussed ahead of what’s going to be a tough season for us, considering what’s expected.”

His Cherries squad have been training in Marbella and faced Spanish third division outfit Real Balompedica Linense – with a mixed youthful and experienced side running out 4-2 winners.

Kyle Taylor, who returns this season following a loan spell at Southend United, netted twice, while Jaidon Anthony and Dominic Solanke also bagged.

Parker was able to introduce eight under-21s from the bench as the game drew to a close, with the quality and most importantly application on show not reducing.

Speaking after the match, Parker told the club website: “The result is the least important thing.

“The most important thing is fitness and seeing things you’re trying to develop in training. It was the first game for a lot of the boys and second for others so it’s just about minutes, and getting football under the belts.

“They (the youngsters) did very well to inject a bit of pace in the game, I thought the first half was a bit slow in terms of tempo but they injected the pace and the fourth goal was lovely. They’ve done very well with us, they’ve trained with us and you see that when they came on.

“I’ve been really pleased with everything, it is intense when you come away but it’s been a good time to get everyone around each other and get to know each other.

“But the players have been first class, real focussed ahead of what will be a tough season for us, we know that, considering what’s expected – but it’s been a good trip so far.”

Cherries will face stiffer opposition in their next friendly, as the Championship side round out the warm-weather camp with a match against La Liga and 2020-21 Europa League quarter finalists Granada on Monday.

Parker opted for a 4-3-3 formation for the first friendly in Spain, while 22-year-old Lloyd Kelly – who has captained England under-20s – took the armband.

With pre-season the time for experimenting, we could see any number of tactical and personnel alterations but Parker insists hard work will remain a constant.

He added: “There is still loads to come, it’s very early days but standing in my position tonight you see little bits of how players grasp what we’re trying to do.

“Two and a half weeks in now and our second game so we’re certainly going to want more intensity, that’s what is expected now, but that will come the more we train and work in the coming days.

“Hard work again really, a lot more hard work. This is a time where you’re going into games a bit fatigued, but these are crucial times for what is a big season ahead of us.

“Forty-odd games in our season, Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Wednesday. There’s a lot of football to be played.

“Granada are at a level where it’s going to be much more of a test than what we faced tonight, and we need that really so it will be a good gauge for us.”