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Johnson praises players

6 July 2013

Latics hold top Romanian side

An upbeat Lee Johnson congratulated his players on their level of fitness and performance as they held top Romanian side Dinamo Bucharest to a 2-2 draw in their first pre-season friendly.

Latics’ manager explained that to produce such a display after only one week of training was an indication as to the hard work the players have put in during their summer break.

"Each player was given a fitness programme and they have clearly been doing what was asked of them," explained Johnson who took plenty of positives from his side's display so early into the build up to the 2013/14 campaign.

Johnson (pictured) continued: "It was a really good workout because, make no mistake, Dinamo Bucharest is a top, top side.

"I was pleased, especially with the first half and there won’t be many teams in League One which will play to that level and tempo.

"There were so many positive signs when you bear in mind we have only worked on things for three or four days. Fast forward another four weeks and we should be ready.”

Johnson added he was not surprised to see new-signing Charlie MacDonald score on his debut as his finishing in training has been "unbelievable" and better than he envisaged before capturing the 32-year-old striker.

Latics' manager fielded two almost completely different line ups – he made 10 changes at the break and used a total of 23 players with James Wesolowski, Luke Simpson, Chris Sutherland and Carl Winchester all sitting out the game through minor ailments.

Dinamo, who had four full Romanian internationals on view, fell behind to a 19th minute Jose Baxter penalty which was awarded after the lively Jonson Clarke-Harris was tripped by the Romanian keeper s he burst clean through on goal.

Jose Baxter, who Johnson described as a "maverick," scored with a cheeky chip down the middle of the goal, something he has done previously – and not always successfully!

Dinamo equalised in the 29th minute with a goal from Rus Laurentiu, a great strike from the edge of the penalty area.

The Romanians went ahead on the hour after a defensive mix up between Glenn Belezika and keeper Robbie Thompson as sought-after striker Marius Alexe, reportedly a target for Liverpool and Fulham, scored from the tightest of angles.

Latics displayed a never-say-die spirit and were rewarded when MacDonald marked his debut with a classy equaliser 21 minutes from time.

James Dayton supplied the assist and MacDonald found the net with a sweet strike from just outside the penalty area.

First half (4-4-1-1): Thompson; Dao, Tarkowski, Mellor, Grounds; Schmeltz, Smith, Rodgers, Montano; Baxter; Clarke-Harris.

Second-half (4-4-1-1): Thompson (Coleman 75); Byrne, Trialist, Belezika (Cooper 75), Brown; Millar, Gosset, Racchi, Dayton; N’Diaye (Truelove 47); MacDonald.



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