Paul Tisdale says he walked away from the Vitality Stadium more pleased than unhappy despite his side’s defeat to Premier League side AFC Bournemouth.
MK Dons were beaten 3-0 by the Cherries in Round Two of the Carabao Cup, with goals from Lyss Mousset, Ryan Fraser and Jordan Ibe securing the Dorset club’s passage through to the third round.
The defeat saw the Dons’ unbeaten run in all competitions come to an end but boss Tisdale was far from unhappy at the final whistle.
“You never like losing but am I going home distraught? No, I’m actually going home more pleased than unhappy,” he said in his post-match press conference.
“It was always going to be a pretty tough game. They have a large talented squad and they showed that tonight with the team that they played and the way they performed. They were quick, athletic and purposeful and they were playing against a team that is maybe on the fatigued side.
“But, I thought we did well and I’m really proud of the players. Yes, we’ve lost the game and we’re flat about it but I think we’ve gained a lot.
“The game got away from us after those two goals in the first half but our players still worked through that second half. A lot of the players who got through the 90 minutes have played game after game after game - that shows a lot of conviction, focus and professionalism.
“I was pleased with quite a few of the young players who played and who gained considerable confidence throughout. Oran Jackson is one - he gained confidence and will take a lot from tonight.”
He added: “The league form is ultimately going to be our focus. If we were going to go on unbeaten forever then we’d be winning the Carabao Cup and the FA Cup - I don’t think that was going to happen.
“[Our unbeaten run] was going to have to end at some point but generally I thought we did well against a talented team so it’s another building block for us - on to the next.”
Here’s what else Tisdale had to say in his post-match press conference...
“In the second half, it came down to keeping players fit and working out who we were going to take off and look after.”
On a valuable experience for his players...
“There are numerous ways to learn and one way is trial and error - actually getting out there and experiencing it. You can watch a video, train on the training ground but to actually go on the pitch and experience it is a great contribution towards your learning. It gives you confidence that you can go out there and play football against some really good players - Oran Jackson was a really good example of that.”
On Sam Nombe...
“I was delighted with Sam. He’s not trained much at all having been injured since pre-season. For a young player who hasn’t trained much, I thought he showed real strength - I was very impressed.
On Osman Sow...
“It was lovely to see Osman on the pitch. There has been a lot of conjecture about Osman and it was just great to see him back out there in an MK Dons shirt playing some good stuff.
On Lee Nicholls...
“I thought he looked highly competent. Yes, they scored three goals but I thought generally he had a tidy game. He hasn’t had a lot to do in the last three or four weeks so perversely it was nice to see him in a game that challenged him a little bit. It was good to see him making saves.”
On AFC Bournemouth...
“There is a real health and vibrancy to the environment. There has been plenty of continuity here and there is a really good atmosphere around the stadium. The players play with real purpose and there is an identity to the place. There has been development here over a period of time and you can feel that there is a lot of health here.”
Paul Tisdale and MK Dons return to Sky Bet League Two action this Saturday afternoon when they travel to The Energy Check County Ground to take on Swindon Town.
Tickets are priced at £23 adults, £17 seniors/students, £10 under-21s, £6 under-18s and £2 under-11s.
Travel is on sale for this fixture, priced at £15 for Season Ticket holders and £16 for all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 12pm.
To book tickets/travel click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will remain on sale from MK Dons until 5pm on Friday.