Roy Hodgson praised an under-strength Liverpool FC side after he came through a potentially difficult debut as manager with a 2-0 win at FK Rabotnicki in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League third qualifying round tie.
Hodgson opted to leave established names such as Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres, Jamie Carragher, Pepe Reina, Joe Cole and Javier Mascherano out of his squad and handed starts to the likes of Jay Spearing, David Amoo and summer signing Milan Jovanović.
In the absence of Liverpool's big hitters, it was David Ngog who came to the fore with a goal in each half to secure victory to the delight of his manager. "Ngog has done well in the pre-season matches so far," Hodgson said. "He has worked very hard in the training sessions and he crowned his performance with two goals.
"It was a landmark occasion for many players," the 62-year-old added. "There were a lot there who have played very few games in the first team and there were others who were only a couple of weeks back off holiday. To step out and play a tie of this nature, it asked a lot of them, but they all stepped up and answered any questions the opposition could pose. I'm happy with the result and performance."
Hodgson continued: "Having taken this job, I think there will be great expectations on my shoulders every time I step into Melwood [training ground] and every time I take charge of a game. I am ready for that because I came into the job knowing the situation and the important thing for me is to build a team capable of meeting those expectations."