Duncan Watmore believes Sunderland's intense training camp in Austria has given the side the perfect platform to build from.
Watmore was a second-half sub in the 3-0 win over Hartlepool United at Victoria Park, Sunderland's first pre-season game.
Jermain Defoe scored twice and Wahbi Khazri also got on the scoresheet in what is set to be Sam Allardyce's last game before being unveiled as the new England manager.
Allardyce, who didn't watch the second half, left the ground before the end of the game and no players were put up for interview afterwards.
But in an interview with the club website, Watmore said he believes the players are already reaping the benefits of their time in Austria, were they completed double sessions.
"The lads started off really sharp [against Hartlepool United], said Watmore.
"We’ve had a good pre-season and all the staff have worked hard for that.
"We’ve worked hard as players too, and it was good for us that it paid off.
"The way they played in the first half was exactly what you want for the first game of pre-season and then, with some of the young lads, we did well in the second half. It was good.
"It was a hard ten days [in Austria] but that’s what it’s there for.
"Pre-season you’ve got to work hard and thankfully we got a win so it’s a good start and we take that onto the next game."
Watmore came on at half-time as Allardyce made whole-sale changes to what is set to be his last Sunderland side.
And he impressed with his rapid pace, making the most of the long balls upfield from his England Under-21 international teammate, Jordan Pickford.
"He’s class at that [long ball]," added Watmore.
"I’m used to playing with him and any chance he gets the ball I’m always readying to spin off the last shoulder because his distribution is that good.
"I enjoy playing with him."