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Fixture News

Manning: Pleased to progress

Head Coach Liam Manning reflects on his side's Papa John's Trophy success...

1 December 2021

Liam Manning was pleased to see his MK Dons side find a way to progress in the Papa John’s Trophy.

A much-changed Dons side were unable to break down a stubborn Leyton Orient at the Breyer Group Stadium but still managed to secure a spot in the Last 16 by virtue of a penalty shoot-out.

“Obviously we’re delighted to get through,” Manning said in his post-match press conference. “I’ve said it from day one, we want to win games and have a culture where winning games is paramount to what we do. It’s good to progress.

“Looking at the game, it’s not easy – a lot of the guys have been out with illness or injury so aren’t up to speed when it comes to matches.

“It was an opportunity to impress and stand out. We want them to be brave and make positive decisions and there were moments where they did that and there were moments where they didn’t. It is difficult when you’re not in a rhythm and you haven’t played.”

“I was relatively pleased with certain aspects, especially in the first half there were moments where we had real control over the game.

“We didn’t quite have the final bit, in terms of creating the chance or taking the chances, what the guys did show was that real desire to work, compete, to fight and dig in, and come away with a clean sheet.”

On the shoot-out, Manning added: “I was relatively calm. I have faith and confidence in the guys.

“They were good penalties. We spoke around them taking their time, not rushing into it, picking their spot and not changing their mind. The guys showed good composure and did what they needed to do.

“Who knows what will happen in future rounds? If it comes to that in future, hopefully that experience puts us in a good position.

“It was also great for the fans to finish the game like that, especially right in front of them. Hopefully it leaves them in a positive mood.”

Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…

On Brooklyn Ilunga…
“Brook has shown progress. If you look back to the first game he played to where he is now, he has shown progress. He is a terrific kid with a terrific attitude and the challenge for him and for us, is to really push on and make sure he learns the game, learns the position and understands how he imposes his qualities on the game. We saw that in flashes tonight and it’s now about him doing it more consistently.”

On Franco Ravizzoli keeping a clean sheet…
“Franco was solid. He did well with the bits he had to do so I was pleased with him.”

On having an eight-day break before Plymouth Argyle…
“It’s important off the back of a really heavy period, in terms of travelling as well as the games – the late nights and the time spent sat down on a coach. All our attention is on Plymouth and making sure we do everything we can, physically and mentally, to make sure we are as fresh as possible going into that week. We need to make sure everybody is good to go.”

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Next up for Liam Manning and MK Dons is their televised Sky Bet League One clash with Plymouth Argyle at Stadium MK.

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 Centre.

To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622922. Tickets will be available to buy right up up until kick-off from the Box Office.


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