Russell Martin got exactly what he wanted out of Tuesday’s tough exercise against Arsenal at Stadium MK.
Facing many players who were lining up in the FA Cup final a little under a month ago, Martin’s Dons proved more than a match – enjoying decent spells of possession and even getting on the scoresheet courtesy of a well-worked attacking move.
“I’m really pleased with the guys,” Martin told iFollow MK Dons afterwards. “Everything we asked them to do, they carried out.
“We pressed intensely and got the ball back really quickly when we lost it. We had periods where we had good control and possession as well. I’m really pleased with the approach and the mentality.
“I’m really disappointed with the goals but we’re still ironing things out. We need to tidy up on loads of bits but overall we can be proud of how we approached it.
“I told them whatever happens I wanted them to stick to how we want to play which isn’t easy against a big opposition.
“The stuff we showed them and discussed they carried it out, which shows how willing they are to learn and how much belief they have in what we are looking to do.”
He added: “It will take us a bit of time to get fully ready but nights like tonight show we can be competitive against anyone.”
The only negative to an otherwise positive night for MK Dons was an injury to Louis Thompson during the first half which forced the Norwich City loanee forced off the pitch. Martin is keeping his fingers crossed.
“We hope that’s not too serious,” the Dons boss said. “We’ll keep our fingers crossed on him because apart from that, it’s been a positive night for us.”