Lee Nicholls admitted losing still hurts even in pre-season friendlies after MK Dons lost 1-0 to Brackley Town on Friday night.
Courtney Richards' third minute goal was all that separated the sides at St James' Park - Dons' first defeat under the watch of Paul Tisdale.
With few chances at either end, it wasn't one for the neutrals, but Robbie Muirhead hit the bar for the visitors, while Gregg Smith's second half effort was tipped onto the post by Dons keeper Wieger Siestma - a half-time change.
Speaking after the game, Nicholls trod the usual line of fitness meaning more than the result, but the 25-year-old said as a professional footballer, results always mean something.
He said: "It's quite important, to be fair. It's not massive, I think it's more about getting minutes but you always want to win as a competitor, as a footballer, as a professional. It's tough, we trained this morning so it's not our usual match prep.
"There weren't many clear-cut chances, but we had the better chances I think, and better in-field play. But it's pre-season, it is what it is. Hopefully we can kick on now. It's good prep for the season - this will be similar to the type of teams we're coming up against in League 2."
With seven new signings through the door this summer, the squad leave for Spain this weekend for a training camp and as a bonding session.
For Nicholls, he said it will be good to get away but he is not expecting it to be a holiday.
He added: "The new lads have come in, they've done really well and we've tried to make them fit in. They've gelled well, so it will be good to get away with them. IT will be hard, but we'll come back fitter both physically and mentally and as a group.
"You come in, train in the morning and play in the evening. We're travelling to Spain tomorrow - it;s non-stop. But it's what you have to do to get ready for the new season."