Ebbsfleet boss Steve Brown revealed he has learnt a lot from pre-season after his side defeated Gillingham 1-0 to secure six friendly wins out of six.

In the unbeaten run the Fleet scored 12 goals and conceded just one, keeping clean sheets against four Football League sides as they go into the competitive season in perfect form.

And despite footballing clichés suggesting a pre-season loss is sometimes more beneficial than a win, Brown stated he is happy with how his side are playing.

He said: “I’ve learnt a lot about my new players.

“I always look at it from the slant of ‘yes, you do learn sometimes more in defeat about your players’, but you can still coach and asses your players when you’re winning games and that’s what we’ve done.

“We’ve worked hard on the training ground and nothing changes in pre-season whether you win lose or draw, you’re just assessing your squad.”

Brown added: “We changed formation today and played a 4-5-1 with five out-and-out midfielders and a striker because we had a couple of injuries to two of our strikers.

“We had two left and I didn’t want to put them under pressure in case we lost another one.

“So we changed systems and I quite liked the look of it.

“We didn’t create as many chances but that’s probably due to the opposition, who were very structured, very organised and very miserly in what they give you.

“I was pleased with today. I’ve still learnt a lot about my squad over pre-season and I always say psychologically it’s better to win than to lose.

“Although there’s no point to pre-season wins, it is nicer to come off the pitch when you’ve kept a clean sheet and won a game.”

With the Fleet due to start their season next Tuesday  - or Saturday if Salisbury City are reinstated into the Conference South - Brown hinted he now has a few welcome selection headaches due to his side’s good performances.

The manager said: “I have an idea about a starting XI but I’ll leave it right until Saturday morning if we play, or Tuesday night before revealing it.

“I’ve got to be honest with you, there have been some performances over pre-season that have put me into a position where I’m going to have to disappoint one or two.

“Sometimes the team picks itself but on this occasion most of the players have put themselves in the shop window to be picked, so there’s going to be a lot of disappointed people I’ll have to pick up once I’ve named the team.”

Brown added: “When you pick a side, what I say to the players is that I don’t do it to upset people and they’re not left out for me to purposely upset them - I have picked the side I think will win us the game.

“If they’re patient and they sit and wait, I’ll offer them the same courtesy when they’re in the side. If they do well, they’ll stay in the team.

“That’s what we’re preaching.

“Whatever XI is out there, it’s a pat on the back and let’s get the result, so try not to take things too personally or too much in a negative way as an individual.”

Brown also revealed last season’s top scorer Billy Bricknell is likely to be a couple of weeks away from full fitness after sustaining an ankle injury in the win over Thurrock last Tuesday.

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