Ronnie Moore admits Hartlepool United are nowhere near the finished article – but he was delighted to get the new season up and running with a convincing 2-0 win.
Goals from Billy Paynter and Rakish Bingham ensured Pools started the new League Two campaign with a clean sheet and three points against Morecambe at a buoyant Victoria Park.
Moore’s men rode their luck at times but they were deserved winners, despite a last-minute change in formation.
Pools had worked on 3-5-2 all pre-season but a combination of injuries and the way Jim Bentley sets his Shrimps side up led to a late change of heart for Moore.
And the more attack-minded 4-3-3 formation – with Scott Fenwick restored alongside Paynter and Fenwick – worked well.
Moore said: “There are bits to work on and we aren’t the finished article by a mile, but it’s a great start.
“It’s a new look and there’s fresh optimism here.
“It’s good to reward everyone, last season is gone and this is a new era.”
Pools battled against relegation for the entire 2014-15 campaign but 10 new signings – six of who started against Morecambe – have breathed fresh life into the squad.
Trevor Carson, Dan Jones, Brad Walker and Jordan Richards were all missing through injury but Moore was pleased with the way his side went about their business on a warm day at The Vic.
“It’s hard when you bring 10 in and they’ve not all played together, but a lot have been involved,” said Moore.
“We’ve coached them into 3-5-2 but then picked up knocks and ended up 4-3-3 and being ambitious. The question was could Morecambe live with us?
“We only had 30 minutes on Friday to work on it.
“But a clean sheet and two strikers scoring, I’ll take that!
“Second half we sat too deep and allowed them back in but some of our first half play was fantastic.
“Our link-up play was good, we didn’t shoot enough at times, but those little balls from [Michael] Woods into the front men were entertaining.
“If you can be disappointed when you win it’s how deep we sat.
“We played 4-3-3 because we had players injured and Matthew Bates had had an injection in his knee and we know what they play like. I think we shocked them in the way we played and it shows we can play different ways.
“How you get the points and how you play doesn’t really matter though.”
Moore was particularly pleased with his side’s attacking play, with new signings Paynter and Bingham both getting on the scoresheet, while playmaker Michael Woods again dazzled – putting his injury woes from last season firmly behind him.
“The two goals were well worked,” added Moore.
“Billy played Bings in for his goal and he ain’t going to miss those. For me the pleasing thing was Billy getting on the end of the cross.
“Billy has a new lease of life here, he’s captain which is new to him and he’s led the line well for me. He’s held the ball up, grafted, took the knocks and scored.
“And with two other strikers alongside him, he will be brilliant here.”
* Pools have been drawn to play at home against Sheffield United in the first round of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The Blades knocked Pools out of the competition in Round Two last year.
First Round ties are due to be played in the week commencing 31st August.