Dean Lewington enjoyed his experience on the touchline last weekend despite the ‘body blow’ of a stoppage-time goal denying MK Dons an opening-day victory.
Lewington looked on course to have led the Dons to a 3-2 win over Bolton Wanderers courtesy of Hiram Boateng’s dramatic 84th-minute goal however, there was to be another twist in the fifth minute of added time when Alex Baptiste turned in a late equaliser.
“That was a whole season in one!” Lewington said in his post-match press conference. “It was a mad game but it was a good game to watch as well.
“We started really well and what we worked on in the week looked really good. We went 1-0 up and had Troy's effort cleared off the line - had that gone in, 2-0 would have taken the wind out of their sails.
“Their first shot is a free-kick and there's not a lot we could do about it, but that put them back in the game. Their second put the fans back on top of us, but we hung in there and I was really pleased with the character to get back into it.
“From there, it was only us who looked like going on to win it and it’s just unfortunate we were 20 seconds away from doing that.
“It was heart-breaking at the end. There's normally one chance in stoppage time and we thought it had come and gone - we'd put our bodies on the line and managed to get that one away. We switched off with 20 seconds to go which is disappointing but I'm not pointing fingers as, overall, I'm really pleased.
“For the first game, you want to start well and be positive, but against a newly promoted team with the fans back, we knew we'd be up against it. When you look back, it's a good point against a good team – it’s just the way it went that makes it feel like a body blow."
On the experience of taking charge, Lewington said: “I've aged about 10 years! It was a strange feeling – I felt a bit helpless. My heartrate was about 180 for the whole game as well - it was a proper work-out.
“I tried to embrace it and enjoy it as much as I could. And I did, but it was a shame not to get the win.”
Here is what else Lewington had to say…
On Hiram Boateng’s goal…
“I'm pleased for H. First of all, he's an excellent player with loads of qualities. For whatever reason under Russ, he wasn't fancied and that happens in football. We were short on players and he has so much quality so we put him back in. I'm so pleased for him to get the goal and you could see what it means for everyone for him to score.”
On Troy Parrott’s debut performance…
“It was Troy's first game so while we all need to get to know each other, his all-round game was excellent. He caused trouble all over the pitch and I was really pleased with him. All the new lads will get better and settle in with what we do. It was pleasing to see two new lads scoring too.”
On plan for this week…
“I'll just wait for the call if I'm taking training Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday up until the Club appoints someone. I'll continue to do what we do, keep it ticking over to the best of my abilities. Hopefully sooner rather than later, the club can appoint someone.”
On David Kasumu…
“He suffered an injury on Saturday and we thought it was just a knock but it just didn't settle. He went for a scan on Thursday but we're looking at anything from six to eight week as it stands. It’s a real disappointment because he's one of the shining stars of the team but Ethan (Robson) came in and did really well and it offers him the opportunity to play and to show what he can do.”
On MJ Williams’ yellow card…
“I wasn't too sure, I did see it but it was so quick. In the Premier League, I think he'd be gone but at our level it's one of those. We've got no complaints, it's just one of those decisions on the toss of a coin.”
MK Dons return to Stadium MK this Saturday afternoon for their opening home match of the 2021/22 season.
Tickets for the Sky Bet League One clash with Sunderland are on sale priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE.
To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622922. Tickets will be available to buy online up until 2pm on Saturday and up until kick-off from the Box Office.