Russell Martin, once again, saw the character of his MK Dons side on Saturday as they fought back to secure a point against Burton Albion– but the boss would have much preferred they not fallen behind at Stadium MK.
Scott Fraser’s sixth goal of the season cancelled out an eighth-minute opener from Colin Daniel, as Martin’s Dons earned themselves a share of the spoils in their Sky Bet League One encounter with the Brewers.
While pleased his team were able to bounce back from the early setback to add to their points tally, Martin knows the Dons must find a way to stop conceding first in games if they are to turn points like Saturday’s into all three moving forwards.
“It's a conversation we've had too many times,” Martin said in his post-match press conference.
“I'm very hurt by the first half. We didn't start well and that has happened too many times. We then didn't respond well to conceding and got worse, which isn't like us. Our mentality wasn't right and it took us way too long to adapt.
“They sniffed blood with us early on and teams are doing that now. They're putting energy into that first 15 minutes to get something from us and, for some reason, we aren't able to cope with it. It’s hurting us.
“The second half, though, was outstanding. We showed a lot of character, intensity, aggression and responsibility – everything we didn't do in the first half.
“Last season, if we go a goal behind that was us done and dusted. That's different now, but going a goal behind happens way too often.
“That’s why the balance is hard for me. The first half hurt me, but I'm proud of the second half and the way we came back.”
He added: “I have to take the positives and hope it rolls onto Tuesday, but we can't have a repeat of the first half. That's why we're in the position we're in.
“We feel frustrated because most of the performances we’ve put in have been better than 17th in the league, but that's why we're there. We're hurting ourselves and it has to stop.”