Karl Robinson took full responsibility as his side slipped to their first defeat in seven games at the hands of Shrewsbury Town on Tuesday night.
The Dons fell two goals behind early on courtesy of a brace from Shrews striker Tom Eaves, and although the men from MK1 pulled themselves level thanks to Ryan Lowe’s double, an own goal from defender Antony Kay saw the visitors head back to Shropshire with the three points.
And although manager Robinson bemoaned a sloppy opening twenty minutes he refused to point the finger at individuals, as his side slip 12 points behind a play-off place which 10 games to go.
Speaking after the game, the 32-year-old said: “I’m shell-shocked and I think everybody who was in the stadium tonight is also shocked with that scoreline.
“They had two shots on target and scored three goals. I can’t question any of the players’ attitudes because I don’t think anybody shirked any responsibility. There were mistakes but those mistakes came from players who have arguably been two of our better players over the course of the season so it’s not fair to start pointing the finger at them.
“Antony Kay’s obviously gutted (with the own goal). He’s hardly put a foot wrong this season but it was just one of those things. At that stage there was only one team in the game and, to be fair, not even their goals came as a result of sustained pressure from them. They were breakaway goals where their striker was able to bully our two centre-halves and he took his chances.
“We got back into the game and we were by far the better team from then on. That’s probably the luckiest 3-2 win you’re ever likely to see. It’s happened now, though, and we’ve got to deal with it. We’ll work to eradicate a few mistakes from tonight and we’ll move on from here.
“I’ll take the responsibility for it at the end of the day because I’m the manager of this Football Club but if those players keep performing like they did today, then I’m sure we’ll win more games than we lose.
“It’s important the team don’t get too despondent now because they’ve probably got to face one of the biggest mountains in their career in order to get this team into the play-offs.
“It was a hill we had to climb before this game, but now it’s a mountain. Can we do it? If the players stick to what they are doing and keep working hard then they won’t be far away. We won’t ever stop and we won’t ever say it’s over until it’s over. We’ve just got one almighty mountain to climb now and they know the enormity of the challenge.
“This will be one of the biggest tests for these players and if they let this season filter away then they’ll find themselves having to look for another Football Club next year if they don’t put a shift in between now and the end of the campaign.
“Everybody’s attitude in the Football Club, though, has been phenomenal. Yes results haven’t gone our way and neither has the luck with injuries and suspensions but nobody’s ducking any sort of responsibility. The players without a doubt deserve a lot more than what they’ve got this year and certainly this evening”
Robinson was also keen to praise the Dons support, who stuck by their team throughout the match, on what was a bitterly cold evening at stadiummk.
“I thought the fans were spot on today. I thought they responded and got behind us at the right times and whereas in a lot of other places across the country fans would have turned on their team after going 2-0 down at home, ours didn’t and they actually started singing louder.”