Russell Martin wants MK Dons to enjoy their football and hopes that freedom will see the positive results return.
The Dons face Rotherham United this weekend in search of their first win in 10 games – a run of form which has seen them collect just one point and fall to 21st in the Sky Bet League One table.
A much-improved performance against Bolton Wanderers last weekend has given Martin optimism that his team are close to turning a corner, and the 33-year-old believes that by putting smiles back on faces, that return to form will come sooner rather than later.
“I've been telling them to play with freedom and to enjoy their football,” Martin said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League One clash with Rotherham United at Stadium MK.
“There has not been enough enjoyment for however long, but I want them to enjoy it and be allowed to express themselves. There has to be an environment where they can do that. Having Luke here is great because he is constantly pushing that message.
“I can sense an anxiety. They are still unsure at times about taking risks on the ball. We're also rushing and forcing things at time. We just need to relax.
“What they've given me so far in terms of mentality, has shown me that we've become much harder to play against. We need to build on that, and play with more freedom, less fear and more expression.”
In the Dons’ way of a first league victory in 10 matches is a Rotherham United side who occupy a spot in the Sky Bet League One play-off places and have won five in their last seven.
“They're a good side and they are really good at what they do,” Martin said about this weekend’s opponents. “They're consistent with it and with their manager who they've had for quite a while now.
“We need to be aware of them, but we have to mainly focus on ourselves and what we're doing - how we can improve and finding something and building on it to take us forward."
Saturday's match with Rotherham United at Stadium MK has been designated as the Club’s annual Armed Forces Day.
Armed forces members, scout groups and veterans are entitled to up to one FREE ticket and one FREE guest ticket, with additional tickets available at a discounted rate. What’s more, there will be a military-themed Fanzone in our Marshall Arena from 12.30pm.
General sale tickets, meanwhile, 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.