LA Galaxy midfielder Steven Gerrard revealed he was shocked by the difficulty of playing in MLS in his first season.
The new campaign begins on Sunday, with the Galaxy’s first match coming at home to DC United after they failed to retain their MLS Cup crown in 2015.
Former Liverpool captain Gerrard joined midway through the season and was impressed by the standard of play, while finding the conditions in some parts of the United States a particularly testing aspect to cope with.
“There were some shocks and surprises when you go away on the road,” the 35-year-old told Sky Sports.
“The altitude, the humidity, the length of travel, and obviously getting used to team-mates and new tactics, it’s a different way of playing. I will certainly be better for the highs and lows of last season.
“The level is certainly a lot better than people think. You have an opinion when you watch this game on the eye and it’s very competitive. There are some good players in the league, good managers and good tactics.
“I’ve sampled different training sessions at LA Galaxy that I’ve never done before so maybe one day I can use different bits and bobs that I’ve learnt over here.”
After losing in the first round of the play-offs last year, the Galaxy suffered a thumping 4-0 aggregate defeat to Santos Laguna in the CONCACAF Champions League quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Gerrard, though, is determined to ensure he has a trophy to show for his spell in America.
He continued: “Win the MLS Cup or go close [is the aim]. Last year we went out of the first round of the play-offs, the wheels fell off towards the end of the league campaign.
“We conceded too many goals and we got a really tricky away tie against Seattle in the play-offs. We need to position ourselves better in the league before it goes to the play-offs, then it’s a bit of a lottery.
“We need to perform and be consistent in knock-out competition. Hopefully I’ll go home with a trophy.”
Gerrard has previously suggested that 2016 is likely to be his last season, but he does not want to rush any decision to retire.
“I don’t want to shut any doors and I don’t want to make any rash decisions because where I sit now I still feel healthy,” he said.
“I still feel fit, I still feel like I could play in most levels in the game so where I sit now I’m not ready to retire. Will I be ready in 10 or 11 months’ time? We’ll have to wait and see.”
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