SWINDON Town head coach Scott Lindsey explained his players’ extra exertions in training probably led to a hat-trick of avoidable errors in the 4-2 defeat to Cardiff City at the County Ground on Saturday.

Three of the Bluebirds’ four goals came from Town mistakes after Max Watters had opened the scoring courtesy of a slick move early on.

Lindsey revealed that his squad had run almost 25 per cent further than they would in a free week during the campaign in order to build up fitness reserves.

MATCH REPORT: Swindon Town lose 4-2 to Cardiff City in final pre-season fixture.

But looking back on a game in which Tyrese Shade and Jacob Wakeling opened their County Ground accounts, adding some respectability to the scoreline, Lindsey expressed mostly pride with a tinge of disappointment.

Asked what he learned from the club’s final pre-season outing, the Town boss said: “I learned that our players put a real shift in, in what was a difficult game.

“They’re a good side, and I think they’re probably going to be at the top end of the Championship.

“We’ve conceded at least two goals from poor turnovers, which we didn’t really need to do.

“But we’ve come into the game really fatigued. The players covered around 36 kilometres (22 miles) this week, which is probably around 8km (five miles) more than they would do normally in a clear week.

“We wanted them to play fatigued, and the players were very tired, so therefore we didn’t really commit to a press and we didn’t fully commit in possession.

“We were kind of loose at times with the ball. But I wanted them to play in a tired state, knowing that next week we can go in really fresh.”

With Swindon down by three goals to nil at half-time, the feeling among fans may have been one of trepidation given the League Two season kicks off in less than a week.

But the club’s head coach chose to view the defeat in a more optimistic style and suggested the errors are far less likely to occur following a more suitable level of loading.

Lindsey said: “You never expect errors, you expect players to make proper passes and not turn the ball over.

“But of course when they’re fatigued they make mistakes. And that’s what happened with at least two of the goals.

“The goal at the end, we passed it into the middle of the pitch when we probably could have gone back to the ‘keeper. That was probably a fatigued decision, but overall I’m pleased.”