Michael O’Neill was not overly impressed as his Stoke City eventually squeezed past Blackpool to reach the second round of the Carabao Cup.
The biggest positive he seemed to take was that it meant another game to help get his players up to speed for the 2020/21 season.
Neither side could break the deadlock over 90 minutes but Adam Davies saved two penalties – as did Blackpool keeper Chris Maxwell – before Ollie Turton missed and Stoke went through 5-4 in sudden death.
“We’re pleased because it gives us another opportunity of another competitive game,” said O’Neill.
For your latest Stoke City news sign up to our newsletter with your email in the box at the top of the page – or click here
“We want to stay in the cup for various reasons but one of the reasons we will be able to use it to get minutes into people.
“It’s only our second game and I think that showed in many aspects of our play to be honest. I thought individually some of the quality was poor if I’m honest.
“I’m disappointed with the level that some of the players showed today. Pleased with Jordan Thompson, pleased with Adam Davies but overall there were a lot of things we need to improve on.”
Stoke did have chances to win the game in normal time, with Lee Gregory, James McClean and James Chester spurning good opportunities.
O’Neill said in an interview with Radio Stoke: “We were poor in the final third of the pitch. Our final ball. We were wasteful so many times. We had good passages of play to get into really good areas and we didn’t capitalise on that and that’s disappointing.
“We can look at rustiness and say it’s only our second game in but if that’s the case then hopefully we will see it in the next two weeks.”