Dereham Town manager Adam Gusterson hailed Norwich City’s class on and off the park, and admitted a bumper Aldiss Park gate sets his club up for the season.

A crowd in the region of 3,000 enjoyed the summer sunshine as the Canaries opened their pre-season with a 4-0 cruise.

Gusterson is trying to build towards a campaign at step four of the non league pyramid in the Northern Premier League Midlands Division One, after a switch from the Isthmian set-up which has triggered a major squad turnover.

“What I‘d say about Norwich is their self awareness to us as a club was exemplary. They knew what this game meant to us as a football club as well,” he said. “They were a class act on and off the pitch. To have this game sets us up so well for this season.

"That's probably a good portion of our budget for the entire season in one night. You have to capitalise and I think we have. The way they've approached it, they've played obviously good first team players, which again has attracted people to come here. I'm just so thankful to them and how they've been.

“On the pitch, it was obviously a tough game but we stuck in there. It was just about making sure we were honest throughout until the end. And we were.

"We’ve had two pre-season training sessions and we were then in with Norwich, so we knew we were going to suffer. We held in there, obviously, but their quality, their ability on the ball, their movement, their interchanges were brilliant, and fantastic for our boys to play against that.

"They had probably 90pc of the ball, I'd say but we stuck at it. We wanted to make sure we tried to make it as difficult as we could for them. Obviously the class showed in the end.”

Dereham return to pre-season action against Mundford on Tuesday, with further friendlies lined up against the likes of Fakenham, Norwich United, Mulbarton, Lowestoft and Wroxham.

“It was a good opportunity to look at some new faces. It was about attitude, because we knew even in possession they would be on us like a rash,” said the Magpies’ chief. “You lose the ball and that is no-one's fault. They are just superior in that respect. It was about not getting too frustrated in those moments and making sure that the discipline was there without the ball.

"It was obviously naturally we got tired as the game wore on. From our perspective, the work rate was there, that togetherness was there and we want to take that into the season.

“Tactically, they tried to do what we asked, and that is another fundamental we need to take into the season. We didn't cause them any problems. We had a couple of counter attacks, but nothing more than that. But a really good night for us and the club in general.

"We have a different challenge now in the rest of pre-season, where we can work on other things.”