While disappointed not to come out on top in his first match as Head Coach, Liam Manning saw plenty of positive signs in MK Dons’ Sky Bet League One clash with Sunderland.
Manning’s side found themselves two goals down after 52 minutes of Saturday’s game at Stadium MK, that despite a positive start in which they created several chances on the Black Cats goal.
Their response, however, was spirited and after Troy Parrot halved deficit just prior to the hour mark, the Dons looked like going on to salvage at least a point.
While it wasn’t to be, the performance has left Manning feeling optimistic and excited for the future as he begins his rein in charge at Stadium MK.
“Taking things into perspective and looking at the bigger picture, I'm really excited by some of the things I saw today,” the MK Dons Head Coach said in his first post-match press conference.
“I'm disappointed because you don't want to lose, but there are lots of positives to take. The second half, in particular, we had really good control of the game - we played in their half, we looked dangerous and we had more chances.
“It was just a lapse in concentration (for their goals) - half a second is all it takes for someone to get over your shoulder or if someone doesn't squeeze out that's all it can be. That's the challenge throughout the game - keeping that focus. It’s a lesson to learn.”
Manning continued: “It has been a really challenging time for the players but what a terrific group we have, in the way they've stuck together and got through it.
“It doesn't surprise me from what I've seen from them already. It's a tight group, there are no egos and everyone is willing to work and learn. For us as a staff, that’s really positive.
“They're only going to get better. We'll coach them, help them, develop them and challenge them and they'll get better - that's exciting for me. If we improve the players, the team will get better.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say about Saturday’s defeat…
On Troy Parrott…
“Troy is a really exciting talent. It's just down to him to flip potential into performance and we saw that in the second half. The attempted chip - how many people could see it, try it and have the quality to execute it? The goal was an excellent finish too. He's got some really interesting attributes and it's about delivering it consistently.”
On a physical contest…
“I like bite, I like the aggression. I want us to be a difficult team to play against. When you have a group of young lads, what you don’t want to happen is you get bullied at any point. There was some real bite and aggression, which is good.
On Andrew Fisher’s return…
“The penalty save was a really good moment for him but he was quality with his feet too. It's a really big plus to have him back.”
On recovering for Tuesday…
“Everyone seems okay after the game so that’s okay. It’s now about resting and recovering and looking after what we can control to make sure we are ready for Tuesday.”
Liam Manning's MK Dons are back in action on Tuesday when they take on Charlton Athletic in their latest Sky Bet League One clash.
Tickets are priced from £22 adults, £17 over-65s and £7 under-18s while under-12s go FREE. Upgrades are available to East Centre and West Premium.
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 6.45pm on Tuesday and up until kick-off from the Box Office.
Can't make game? Supporters can WATCH the match LIVE on iFollow MK Dons by purchasing a £10 Video Match Pass - CLICK HERE and select Buy a Video Match Pass!