Despite being knocked out of The Emirates FA Cup on penalties – Lee Nicholls believes MK Dons showed exactly what they are about against Premier League opposition.
Russell Martin’s side stood toe-to-toe against their top-flight counterparts and didn’t stray from their usual attractive style of play when it would’ve been easy to do so.
Nicholls came into the side to replace Andrew Fisher, while Stephen Walker and George Williams were also given starts at Turf Moor. Nicholls believes that the level of performance from the whole squad shows just how strong the culture is at Stadium MK.
“We’ve got a great group,” Nicholls told iFollow MK Dons following the full-time whistle. “A few of us have been here for a while now, and while I’m not in the team, I’m really enjoying it.
“It’s really good what’s happening here – we’re moving in the right direction as a group. We push each other every day and we’re starting to get the results now.
“We conducted ourselves well. At the end of the day, they are a Premier League team and a team doing well there.”
Nicholls marshalled his goal with excellence – and those in front of him were more than up to the task. Daniel Harvie, George Williams, Richard Keogh, Dean Lewington and Regan Poole all stood tall throughout and each made life difficult for Burnley.
The 28-year-old had nothing but praise for those ahead of him.
“I think we've really improved as a defensive unit – the boys were different class. Whoever is there seems to be doing well, and it's a credit to the boys who aren't in the team for listening to what they need to do when they come in.”
It’s a cliché in football, but penalties are the most painful way to lose a game, a belief Nicholls echoed in his post-match interview.
“It's heart-breaking but we couldn't ask for any more. We think their goal came after the three minutes at the end but that's football. We got ourselves together for extra time, conducted ourselves well but it's a shame to go out on penalties.
“It hurts. It hurts a lot.”
MK Dons now turn their attention to Tuesday's Papa John's Trophy tie with Northampton Town, where a place in the quarter finals is on offer. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.
Supporters can watch the PTS Academy Stadium clash LIVE on iFollow MK Dons - click HERE to purchase a Video Match Pass!