MK Dons will end the month outside the relegation places in Sky Bet League One but manager Dan Micciche and his side are not getting carried away – their feet are firmly on the ground.
Micciche’s men moved two points adrift of the bottom four courtesy of a dramatic 2-1 victory over Gillingham – their first-ever away league win against the Gills.
Thursday’s result saw the Dons make it 10 points out of a possible 12 from their last four fixtures, but with seven games still left to play, Micciche knows his team can’t afford to take their foot off the pedal.
“It’s an important win and we’ve kept the momentum going,” he told the media in his post-match press conference. “The players showed fantastic character and I felt we deserved [the win] in the end.
“I’m pleased for the travelling supporters and the players but we’re not getting carried away and our feet are firmly on the ground. We’ve still got seven cup finals to go.
“We’ve said all along that we’ve got a points target that we are aiming for and this is just three more points on the way to that.”
Despite taking the lead through Chuks Aneke’s 10th goal of the season, it appeared as though it wasn’t going to be the Dons’ evening in Kent.
Micciche’s side conceded an equaliser just prior to interval and where then denied what appeared to be a clear penalty for a foul on Callum Brittain early in the second half.
What’s more, the Gills should have been reduced to 10 men when Max Ehmer denied Aneke a clear goalscoring opportunity – the defender was only shown a yellow card.
The Dons, though, were not to be deterred and they showed great spirit to fight back and win the game late on through George Williams' sliding finish – character praised by the manager.
“It was great character from the players. In the second half, two massive decisions didn’t go our way and perhaps two or three months ago they collapse and allow the bad decisions to get the better of them.
“One of the things me and Keith [Millen] have focused on since day one is discipline - they were able to re-focus and that is all I could ask for.”
Here’s what else Micciche had to say in his post-match press conference...
On the two refereeing decisions...
“[For the red card] the referee said to me at the end that he felt the touch was too far away from Chuks – Chuks was always getting to that. On the penalty, I’ve worked with Callum [Brittain] since he was eight years old and he’s many things but he’s not a diver.”
On the recent run...
“We needed to go on a run. I always believed in what we were trying to do and as soon as we got our injured players back, I knew it would turn for us. It hasn’t surprised me that we’ve started picking up points. I think the draws at Rochdale and Fleetwood Town were massive for us.”
On George Williams’ late goal...
“I always felt we would get another chance in the game and we did. I’m proud of Ed, first of all – he’s had a good month and has really stepped up to the plate. That’s been coming that goal, if you look back at the runs that Willo has been making since my time here. He’s been there or thereabouts a few times and I’m pleased that he’s got his reward tonight.”
On the strength of the squad...
“With the squad we’ve got now, I’m able to make tactical changes – changes that are going to help us win the game. We’ve got players waiting in the wings, who aren’t doing anything wrong – I feel for them and they are making my life hard at the moment, which is a good thing.”
On replacing Robbie Muirhead with Ethan Ebanks-Landell...
“Steve Lovell went to 3-5-2 to match us up and he went with [Tom] Eaves and [Conor] Wilkinson so there was a bit more height there. It’s my job as a manager to read and react to what is going on, on the pitch so, a bit like we did against Bury, we brought Ethan on and he gave us a bit more height and Lewie [Dean Lewington] gave us that solidity on the left.”