Gary Caldwell admitted the 2-0 defeat at the hands of Manchester United was a massive learning curve for Wigan Athletic ahead of the new campaign.
Goals from former Latics loanee Will Keane and Andreas Pereira at the start of the second half ensured Jose Mourinho got off to a winning start as United manager.
Despite being second best across the park, Caldwell insists his side will have gained far more positives than negatives as they ready themselves for the big kick-off on August 6.
“To get 90 minutes against a team of that quality was absolutely fantastic,” Caldwell acknowledged.
“And I don’t think you can read too much into the result.
“We were playing against a team that is way above the level of the league we’re about to go into.
“We knew that before the game, we knew it was going to be a test - and it was.
“But it’s something we can definitely learn from.
“Off the ball I think we can learn a lot of things moving forward, but for us it was a very good exercise.
“For us to play in front of that crowd, in pre-season, gives it bit more edge if there wasn’t such a big crowd.
“We’re delighted United gave us this opportunity band allowed us to stage the game.”
While United’s quality was evident with internationals across the park, Caldwell felt Latics didn’t help themselves at all by not making the most of the possession they had.
“It was difficult, because obviously we had to chase the ball quite a bit,” the Wigan boss explained.
“The one thing that disappointed me was how quickly we gave the ball back to them.
“I feel we can be better than that, and we are better than that.
“We need to improve on that - when we get the ball we need to look after it more and make teams like United work harder to get it back.”
Caldwell also relished the chance to lock horns in the technical area with Mourinho, one of the most decorated managers in world football.
“I think you always have to try and learn,” he added.
“When he was a young manager I’m sure he came up against more experienced managers and picked up little things to make him better.
“I had a chat with him before the game, and during the game you can hear him on the side.
“He wants to win, even though it’s only a friendly game at Wigan.
“He was desperate to win the game, and it shows why he’s been so successful in his career.”