Russell Martin saw signs of improvement from his MK Dons side in Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup tie with Port Vale, but also recognises there is still work to be done.
Martin’s Dons were beaten 1-0 by Port Vale in the 33-year-old’s first game in charge, despite an energised performance from his team at Stadium MK.
The display, and the result, leaves Martin with plenty to ponder as he prepares for Tuesday’s Leasing.com Trophy tie with Wycombe Wanderers, and this weekend’s important Sky Bet League One clash with Bolton Wanderers at the University of Bolton Stadium.
“There are things to be pleased about and things to work on,” Martin said in his post-match press conference following the Emirates FA Cup loss to the Valiants.
“We've only had three days of work together but I saw what we have worked on – intensity to get the ball back and stopping the other team playing, and being brave on the ball and dominating play.
“We've lacked in the final third again and that's something we have to work on. We missed a couple of good chances having played a lot of the game in their half. There was some anxiety in there, they need to be a bit more patient and calm.
“I told the players not to be too down. There was improvement from where we were after Tranmere to what I saw today. The lads should be proud of their work-rate and, as a group, we're looking forward and remaining positive.”
Port Vale’s decisive strike came 19 minutes into Saturday’s contest, courtesy of an unmarked David Worrall, who ghosted in at the far post to head home a cross from James Gibbons.
“That took a bit out of us,” Martin admitted. “We showed some resilience but it took our momentum.
“It was a poor goal to concede, and we need to look at that. We should have done better with that first clearance, first of all. Other than that, they didn't really have many chances.”
MK Dons are back in action on Tuesday evening when they take on Wycombe Wanderers at Stadium MK in their final Leasing.com Trophy group match.
Tickets are priced at just £5 adults and £1 under-18s, with seating in the clubRed area of Stadium MK. Please note, there will be no clubRed benefits for this fixture.
To book tickets click HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 0333 200 5343.