ATHLETIC boss Lee Johnson saluted the efforts of the 22 players who played their part in an encouraging performance during the opening pre-season friendly fixture.
Johnson’s men — two separate teams played a half each — went down 4-1 to Romanian champions Steaua Bucharest in a behind-closed-door match at the plush FA headquarters at St George’s Park near Burton.
The Romanians initially led through Robert Valceanu, before Athletic levelled courtesy of a splendid individual strike from Jonson Clarke-Harris shortly after the interval.
However, three goals in six minutes from Fernando Varela, Alexandru Chipciu and Gabriel Iancu secured victory as Steaua turned on the style in the warm sunshine.
Johnson said: “I was pleased with the run-out, definitely.
“The first half was particularly good from the lads. We moved well and shifted the ball around well and we created some good opportunities to score.
“Don’t forget we were only five days into our pre-season, and when you take into account the standard of our opposition, we did well.