While disappointed not to progress in the Emirates FA Cup, MK Dons Manager Dan Micciche saw enough ‘encouraging signs’ in Saturday’s performance to leave him feeling optimistic.
Micciche, in charge of the Dons for the first time after being appointed the Club’s new chief last Tuesday, saw his side dominate possession and create numerous chances against Coventry City but fall to a 1-0 defeat courtesy of Maxime Biamou’s 62nd-minute goal.
“We wanted to win and we’re disappointed to go out of the competition but there were lots of encouraging signs,” he said following the Stadium MK tie.
“I’m proud of the performance, particularly in the first half. We dominated the ball and I also saw a lot of composure, some good movements and players expressing themselves which is what we asked them to do – that’s the identity of this Club and it’s what the fans and the Chairman expect.
“Despite the limited time we’ve had with the players, they took on board some of the positional play and movements that we worked on. We’ve conceded a lot of goals in the first 15 minutes, but today they played on the front foot and in their half. Without the ball we’ve lacked a bit of discipline this season with unnecessary fouls and bookings – I thought we were better at that as well.
“The game ultimately boils down to what happens in both boxes and unfortunately, we didn’t take our chances. We need to build that confidence [in front of goal] back into them and we need to do a lot of work on the training pitch in the final third but I do think we’ve got the right profile of player to put it right.”
He added: “Overall, we’re disappointed to lose the game but I’m optimistic and positive about us moving forward.”
Here’s what else Micciche had to say in his post-match interviews...
On building on the positive signs...
“It only gets easier from here in terms of us being able to analyse the game and work on some of our positional play. Today, if it was more polished, we might have been able to get into better areas a bit quick so we’ll work on that.”
On having a full week to prepare for Walsall...
“We want them to rest up over the weekend and we’ll start again on Monday. We’ll have a full week with them and there will hopefully be one or two fresh faces coming in to strengthen the squad too. We’ll go to Walsall stronger than we were today."
On making his managerial debut...
“It was a good learning curve. It was a special moment for me because this club means a lot to me. With this being my hometown team and having my family here, it was quite emotional really. I’m glad I’ve got it out of the way.”
On Dean Lewington’s return...
“I felt Dean led the team brilliantly on the pitch and his quality on the ball was good. I thought there was good combination between him and Ike (Ugbo), as well as Tav (Marcus Tavernier) supporting just inside. The plan for him was to always play 55 to 60 minutes.”
On the fans’ support this week...
“I want to thank the fans that turned out. They’ve been fantastic with me this week and made me feel very welcome. That only makes me more determined to succeed for them.”
On Coventry City’s goal...
“All goes that you concede are disappointing. I’ll look at it with Keith (Millen) and Dean. We’ll then go back to the training pitch and put things right. There won’t be any knee-jerk reactions. I thought we defended much better – we were more patient."
On hoping to add to the squad before Wednesday’s deadline...
“We’ll see. We have some targets and we’re close with a couple of those. We’ll hopefully get things done before Wednesday but if needs must and it’s got to be a late night on Wednesday but hopefully my wife won’t be expecting me for dinner!”
Micciche's MK Dons will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to the Banks's Stadium to take on Walsall.
Tickets are priced at £20.50 adults, £15.50 seniors/under-18s, if bought in advance of matchday from the Club. There is a Family Ticket offer of £22.50 for one adult and one under-18 but this is only available to buy directly through Walsall – call 01922 651416.
Official Away Travel is available at £18 adults and £17 seniors and under-18s, with a £1 discount for all Season Ticket holders and members. In association with Piglet’s Pantry, supporters who book coach travel for this fixture will be able to collect a complimentary breakfast treat and drink before setting off, as part of the Club’s ‘Feed the Fans’ initiative.
To book tickets/travel click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK/store at centre:mk or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available from the Club until 5pm on Friday.