JOHN Coventry has hailed his new-look East Thurrock United side.

Rocks followed up their opening day victory over Cheshunt with a 2-1 win at Carshalton Athletic on Monday.

Alex Clark and Mitch Gilbey grabbed the East Thurrock goals and Coventry is enjoying working with his new group of players.

“What I have is a good bunch of lads,” said the Rocks chief.

“This is a different group to what we had last season and the players are enjoying it here.

“Over the years, I have had a very good bunch of players where they all get on well.

“But last year wasn’t like that and it was a different animal.

“I was trying to pick up players here and there, having done little research on their character or personality, hoping they could do a job for us.

“It’s not like that this year and it’s pleasing from my point of view.

“I’m finding this new group to be a breath of fresh air.”

Coventry was overjoyed with Rocks’ performance at Carshalton and praised his side’s defensive work after Omar Koroma’s 83rd minute goal made for a nervy final minutes.

“Our performance consisted of every single ingredient you need to be a good side,” added Coventry.

“The players turned up with a good attitude and applied themselves correctly on the pitch.

“When you know the opposition is going to have time on the ball and create opportunities, you need to defend well.

“We did that and worked really hard because they made us work hard.

“It was a big test for us and I’m really pleased that we came through it by picking up three points.”

Coventry was keen to praise goalscorers Clark and Gilbey, who made the move to Rookery Hill in the summer.

“I nearly signed Alex last season, but decided against it,” admitted Coventry.

“He came in again during the summer and he is doing well.

“I like Alex because he is not only a talented player, but he is willing to learn.

“He is learning the defensive side of things despite being a very attacking, flair player and he is taking notice of what coach Kem Izzet is telling him.

“Mitch has been really good since joining us and he was the only player who was good in the pre-season games.

“It’s great that he has taken that form into the new campaign.”