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Interviews

Manning: We'll play with purpose

Liam Manning met with the media for his first pre-match press conference on Monday...

17 August 2021

Liam Manning wants his MK Dons side to play with purpose and intensity but, most importantly, a desire to entertain the supporters with goals and victories.

Manning was appointed Head Coach of MK Dons on Friday and will take charge of his second game tonight when his team play host to Charlton Athletic at Stadium MK.

Speaking in his first pre-match press conference, the 36-year-old provided an insight into the decision to join the Football Club and what he hopes to bring in his new role.

“I've really enjoyed the last few days,” Manning told the local media. “It has been challenging and difficult but I've loved it.

“Not having any time to implement (my ideas) at the weekend was a challenge. The worst thing I could do was come in and make huge changes in the first game without a single session. I just wanted to make them feel good and create an environment where they can go out and step up.

“The second half was about starting to make tactical tweaks and changes and I thought we played with more speed, intensity and more purpose to the second half. I was excited, as I’m sure the fans were, by some of the stuff we saw in the second half.

“When you look at the style last year, there are so many things that align with how I see the game. I'm not coming in to overhaul but I'll definitely put my spin on things.

“I want us to dominate the ball, control possession but I want a purpose with it too. Yes, we want to dominate possession but there has to be a why and that will be big for us

“Often it will be about attacking or scoring goals, which is huge, but it might also be about managing the game - 1-0 up and resting on the ball a bit or, if we've not had the ball for five minutes, getting the ball back and getting some momentum again.

“Out of possession, we have to show intensity and then, hopefully, we'll score some goals too! Fans pay their hard-earned money to come and watch us so we should try and entertain them and work hard to do that.”

And when Manning finally gets some time to work on the training pitch, he believes he has the right calibre of players and staff to make the changes necessary.

“When you look at the age and quality of the squad, and the culture amongst them - that's really important.

“Everyone has to play a part in the squad, whether you're starting, on the bench or not involved. The starting line-up can only be as good as the people around it, so it was a big factor, knowing I had a good group here.

“(The last two weeks) wasn't easy for the players but when you face challenging moments like these, you come together to ride it out and you show resilience. It has a family feel – that feeling when you know you can have a bit of a ruck but you show that support and love to each other when you need it.

“There's also a real energy to improve, get better and to learn - it hits you in the face when you walk in here! It's our job to channel that enthusiasm and teach them to be most effective to help the team ultimately win games.

“I'm excited by what we can achieve going forward.”

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Tickets for tonight's clash with Charlton Athletic are still available to buy, 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 right up until kick-off.


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