Boss Tony Mowbray admitted his side were a bit leggy in Tuesday night's win over Grimsby Town.
Danny Graham's second half goal, his fourth this pre-season, was enough to see the Rovers get the better of the Mariners. However the manager felt they were far from their fluid best in part due to a tough training session earlier in the day.
If there is an excuse then it’s that they worked extremely hard in training that morning, because pre-season is still about getting fit and I think it looked like that.
"I thought it was a tired performance – I thought we were a bit leggy and the fluency wasn’t there that we’ve seen in other games," said Mowbray.
"I was a bit unhappy with them at half-time, but as I said to them afterwards, I’m the manager I’m allowed to get annoyed with them.
"If there is an excuse then it’s that they worked extremely hard in training that morning, because pre-season is still about getting fit and I think it looked like that.
"We were a bit leggy, we weren’t as bright and as sharp to get through their lines as quickly as we have been doing.
"We did okay, defensively we looked pretty solid and it’s another 90 minutes for a few of them under their belts and we will start to hone the team towards what we’re looking for at Southend in the next few days."
Mowbray also thought that Grimsby posed a different threat to his side than they had seen in previous pre-season outings, but felt they coped with the pressure that the League Two side put them under in the closing stages.
"They came really strong at the end with a lot of powerful, big lads came on the pitch," he added.
"We saw it off all right, even though they got on top of us for the last 15 minutes or so.
"We learned from it, it was good that we got attacked rather than just playing teams where we have all of the ball and to be put under pressure and play a counter-attacking game that we are going to have to do this season as I’m sure we will."
Rovers play their final pre-season friendly this Friday night when they travel to Brunton Park to take on Carlisle United.
Ticketing information for the match can be viewed here.