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Fixture News

Warren: Russ’ trust lets us play with freedom

15 February 2021

Fixture News

Warren: Russ’ trust lets us play with freedom

15 February 2021

Warren O’Hora believes the faith Russell Martin and his coaching staff install in the MK Dons players enables them to play with bravery and courage.

Despite travelling to the KCOM Stadium to face second-placed Hull City, the Dons didn’t stray away from their usual possession-based football when it could’ve been easy to do so.

Martin’s side boasted 60% possession against Hull and completed 490 passes in their 1-0 win on Saturday afternoon.  O’Hora was at his usual best misplacing just four passes as he, and the rest of the defence, limited their opposition to just two shots on target.

“The gaffer puts so much trust in us – that allows us to have freedom,” O’Hora told iFollow MK Dons. “He makes us believe in ourselves and the way we play,  we are all on the same page – we never switch it up. We always stick to our guns and we have real clarity about the way we play. You’re never confused and you know what’s going to happen.”

“The first 15-minutes Hull were always going to come out and press us. We calmed down, got the ball on the floor and played the way we do - they got a bit frustrated and we dominated from then on. In the second half, they came out again and pressed for 10-minutes - but after that we were alright.”

After a busy January Transfer Window, Russell Martin has added to his defence with Zak Jules, Ethan Laird and Harry Darling all impressing since their arrival. O’Hora praised those alongside him, while also reserving praise for Andrew Surman who was faultless at the KCOM.

“Harry has come in and he looks like he’s been here all season. Zak and Ethan have slotted in so well and work so hard up and down the pitch. Deano is back there and he’s been excellent as usual.

“Surs is like a fine wine – he has so much time on the ball. He always has someone right behind him and he’s not bothered. Everyone trusts him so much and we’re going to keep the ball with him on the pitch. He was doing keepy ups in the last minute – that’s all you need to know about Surs. He really helps us as a team and the knowledge he brings is fantastic.”

It was a successful week for Martin’s side as they picked up maximum points from their two Sky Bet League One outings. With 690 miles covered, the Dons scored five goals and climbed three places in the table. The work, however, doesn’t stop there, with O’Hora noting the Dons need to build on the back-to-back wins.

“It's a statement we sent out this week, we just need to keep the ball rolling. The lads are all really happy, enjoying which way it has gone after the slow start to the season. We're a better team now than we were. We’ve got more togetherness and everybody is on the same page, it’s a Tuesday off now to rest and recover.

“The press has been amazing the last few games – especially against Rochdale they couldn’t live with us. The press from Will and Joe was relentless and even from the midfield and they’ve put in a shift in. That helps us get the ball and play the way we want.”

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