Karl Robinson was pleased with how hard his players worked in their opening friendly of the 2013/14 season.
In sweltering temperatures, the Dons kick-started their pre-season with a solid 2-0 victory over St. James’s Gate thanks to a penalty from Shaun Williams and an Izale McLeod overhead kick which was bundled over the line two minutes into the second half.
The men from MK1 had chances to extend their lead but, with the scoreline of little importance, manager Robinson was left feeling satisfied with his player’s efforts.
Speaking to mkdons.com, Robinson said: “(The game) was a tough run-out. I know for people back home it’s been hot but it’s been exactly the same over here, I think it was touching on 27 degrees. The pitch was very dry so it was always going to be difficult and slow but the boys were patient and they moved the ball really well.
“When you’re splitting your team over two halves, you’re not going to have a consistent performance but it’s not about that. The result and the outcome of the game are of nil importance to me, it’s about them getting the ruggedness out of the game.
“They wore the GPS (monitors) so we’ll see how far they’ve covered and how quick some of them have ran. We have a comparison from last year so we’ll go back to the hotel and collaborate the data and see where some of them are.”
One player in particular Robinson was eager to see in action was midfielder Stephen Gleeson, who was hampered with injury last season. The former Republic of Ireland international made it through the opening 30 minutes, something his manager was delighted to see.
“A good thing, as well, was that Stephen Gleeson got 30 minutes. He was only scheduled to play 30 minutes, and he now goes back (to the UK) to play a testimonial game for a physio at Stockport. He’ll play 15 minutes there and then he comes back out to play for us on Wednesday so I’m more than pleased he’s come through it.”
As well as giving Gleeson a run-out, Robinson was keen to introduce the four academy players that have made the trip across the Irish Sea; Dele Alli, Brendan Galloway, Giorgio Rasulo, Harry Hickford – all of whom made appearances on Monday night.
“Three of them are 17 and one of them is still 16. They did really well and they’ll only learn from these experiences. Gary was very surprised with the level of quality in the young players so there’s an awful lot to be optimistic about.”