Walsall boss Dean Smith was staying positive after his new-look side were beaten 3-1 by Aston Villa on Thursday night.
George Bowerman`s late header was mere consolation for the Saddlers after two goals from Darren Bent and a third from Emile Heskey had put the Barclays Premier League side firmly in control.
"It was a very good fitness exercise for us," Smith told the club`s official website.
"Villa are a strong side and kept the ball well, so it was hard work for my players, but they will reap the rewards from it.
"It's another step in the right direction for us. My players should look forward to coming up against this calibre of player.
"I'm learning about my players every day and they are certainly learning about me and what I want and expect. The pre-season is all about making sure that everyone knows their roles and responsibilities come the start of the season on August 6."
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