Karl Robinson felt Craig Gardner’s wonder strike early in the second half changed the game after his side were knocked out of the Capital One Cup, being beaten 2-0 by Sunderland.
Gardner’s free-kick in the 54th minute and a great solo goal from James McClean late on was enough to see the Premier League side, who had captain Lee Cattermole sent off in the 31st minute, through at the Dons’ expense.
Despite the scoreline, the Dons dominated possession for large parts of the game and created chances against an experience backline which included the likes of Gardner, Danny Rose and Matt Kilgallon.
However, Robinson was still left feeling gutted after he felt his team did enough to topple the top division outfit.
Speaking after the game, he said: “We’ve not won so I’m not too happy. We worked really hard on this game and ultimately we weren’t good enough at the end of the day, whether they were a Premier League side or not.”
“We’ve pushed and tried but when you’ve got players like McClean and Saha up top it’s always going to be difficult.
“They’ve defended really well and relied on an absolute wonder strike. If that doesn’t go in, the games ends with a different result and that’s the disappointing thing for us.”
The Dons went close on several occasions, most notably from Dean Bowditch and Charlie MacDonald but couldn’t find a way past Keiren Westwood in the Sunderland goal and Robinson ultimately felt the lack of cutting edge cost his side.
“I just thought we did enough, even when it was 11 v 11. I thought we were the better team and that’s not being disrespectful to them, I thought we retained it very well and I thought we made it very difficult for the opposition but we didn’t take our chances.
“I wanted to change it up top today and give Smithy the chance to play against Sunderland and I thought he did well. I thought Adam Chicksen was brilliant today as well, it was just one of them days.
“I thought we performed really well and I’m gutted we didn’t win. I don’t like losing so I won’t accept it but we’ll kick on and come back stronger.”
Although disappointed, Robinson re-iterated that the main focus remains the League as that, he feels, is the only way his side can be remembered for years to come.
“We want to give our fans something to shout about so rest assured we won’t leave anything in the dressing room, we never do and we never will.
“Not many people remember teams who were giant killers, people remember teams who become Champions and that’s our goal this year.
“We want to get out of this League this year, that’s what we want to be remembered for and only then will we make ourselves part of MK Dons history.”