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Russ: Boxing Day display far from good enough

Manager reflects on draw with Southend United...

27 December 2019

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Russell Martin was far from pleased despite his MK Dons side adding to their points tally at Roots Hall on Saturday.

Opponents Southend United twice fought back from a goal down to hold Martin’s men to a 2-2 draw in their Boxing Day encounter in Essex – a result which keeps the Dons inside the bottom three in Sky Bet League One, two points adrift of safety.

“We’re a point better off than where we were at the start of the day but am I happy with how we got the point? Not really,” Martin said in his post-match press conference. "We didn’t reach the standards we are capable of - the players are disappointed with that and so am I.

“We went in front with an action we’ve worked on in training loads of times. It looked scruffy in the end but because of the structure they’ve been given, and the amount of times we’ve worked on it, we score a goal from it.

“We had control in the first half and then we give them a penalty and a goal like that – it’s another rubbish goal to concede. We work all week on the small details and we concede a goal like that. They had, had nothing in the game.

“In the second half, we were far too open. We looked like conceding, but still we get ourselves 2-1 up and we think it might just be our day. It was time to dig in and do the basics right to defend our box but then we give them another terrible goal.

“We shouldn’t be conceding goals like that. Teams don’t have to work hard to score against us at the moment. That hurts me and it should hurt them too.

“We need to clear that last bit of anxiety and fear that we’ve got. We’ve been so pleased, to this point, with the process and what we’re getting from the players but stuff like that is so disappointing. It’s fundamentals and it’s basics.

“We’ll carry on working, but as a group we need to be really honest with each other. We need to improve.”

One positive for Russell Martin on Boxing Day was the production from his strikers.

Both Joe Mason and Rhys Healey found themselves on the scoresheet – the latter in his first appearance since September – while Sam Nombe was involved in the opener in his first start for three months.

“On the positive side, two of our three strikers have scored and another has helped to provide one,” Martin commented.

“It was good to see Sam get 60 minutes under his belt, which was always his plan for today. Rhys came on and made a real impact for us.

“We just didn’t get the ball up to them enough in the second half. We didn’t sustain attacks as well as we have been doing and we didn’t give them enough chances to hurt the opposition.”

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Russell Martin and MK Dons will look to return to winning ways on Sunday when they take on Portsmouth at Stadium MK in their final match of 2019.

Tickets are priced at £22 adults, £17 seniors and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE with an accompanying adult. Supporters can upgrade to premium seats in the East Centre for a £5 premium while an upgrade to clubRed is just £10 more.

To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off from the Box Office.

Can't make the game? Supporters will be able to watch this match on iFollow MK Dons for just £10 - click HERE to purchase a Video Match Pass!


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