HIGHGATE United joint-boss Paul Smith has urged his players not to take any teams lightly if they wish to challenge for the Midland League Premier Division crown.
Smith was left disappointed after the Gate opened up the new campaign with a 0-0 draw with Coventry Sphinx on Saturday.
Having won eight out of eight in pre-season, including a number of wins over high-ranked sides, the Gate gaffer was expecting more from his team.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing but looking back we took Coventry Sphinx too lightly,” he said.
“We had a tremendous pre-season but the performance on Saturday looked like we only needed to turn up to win the game.
“We did not show Coventry enough respect and it needed a few words from myself at the break to get a decent performance from the lads in the second half.
“You have got to be at it every single week in this league and you cannot afford to take teams lightly.”
Highgate followed up their disappointing stalemate with a 2-0 victory over potential title rivals Sporting Khalsa on Tuesday night.
First half goals from Lei Brown and Nick Seabourne were enough to ensure Smith’s men came away with the three points.
“If anyone finishes above Khalsa they are in with a good shout of winning the league because they are my tip for the title excluding ourselves,” said Smith.
“We put on a tremendous display considering we were missing the likes of Aaron Brown, Duane Courtney, Reece Hewitt, Trevor Edwards, Marco Adaggio and Kurtis Revan.
“Tuesday night showed we have great strength in depth and while we had to soak up a lot of pressure, we defended well and took our chances.
“We could have scored four or five had we been more clinical but the result was huge for us.”
Highgate turn their attentions to the FA Cup on Saturday when they take on AFC Wulfrunians in the extra preliminary round with the winners pocketing £2,250 while the losers receive £750.
A league game against Westfields follows three days later.
“Sides at our level need prize money to survive and hopefully we can have a good run in the FA Cup,” added Smith.
“I had Wulfrunians scouted this week and the reports back were very impressive so we are going to have to perform at our best if we want to progress.”