Liam Manning was full of praise for his MK Dons players after their hard-fought, but thoroughly deserved, 2-1 victory over Wigan Athletic at the DW Stadium.
Manning’s men went into the game on the back of successive league defeats to Doncaster Rovers and Shrewsbury Town and fell behind to the promotion-chasing Latics, who could have gone top with a victory on Tuesday night.
However, the Dons produced the perfect response and scored twice in the space of seven minutes late in the first half to secure all three points and return to winning ways in Sky Bet League One.
“I'm delighted for the players and the staff,” Manning said in his post-match press conference. “I'm delighted with the result and the way we responded but I also didn't have any hesitations about that because we've got a strong group of characters with no egos - we saw that on the pitch tonight.
“We saw the honesty, the hard work and desire to compete. When you come to a place like this, with a squad they've got, you know you'll have to ride it out a bit but we were comfortable out of possession and soaking up the pressure - that was really pleasing tonight.
“It took us a little while to get into it - we started well but then they got on top with their press. We'll always find we have that period of problem-solving where we have to understand how to impose our style on the game. We started to do that in the middle-part of the first half and control the game.
“The goals were the most pleasing thing. If you look at Doncaster and Shrewsbury, we've not had that quality in the attacking third lately, but we asked for them to be better versions of themselves.
"We were compact in the second half, winning first and second balls, not letting anything past us. It was arguably our best defensive performance, especially under pressure. We have to win games in different ways, and we showed real defensive grit and desire.”
Manning: “It feels great and, rightly, the players should enjoy the win but we're straight back into it on Saturday with another tough game - that's League One!”
It was the Dons’ two wing backs who stole the show in Greater Manchester with Daniel Harvie and Peter Kioso combining for the latter to head home an equaliser shortly before Harvie had his cross deflected past Ben Amos by a Wigan defender.
Manning had praise for both players and the work they have done behind the scenes in order to be Tuesday’s match-winners.
On Kioso, Manning said: “We sat down with him on Monday, looked at his clips and we looked at a lot of moments where we were attacking down that opposite side and he wasn't in the box.
“I don't think he did it enough at Shrewsbury so I think he's happy with that goal because it shows he's really willing to work and willing to improve himself.
“He has been terrific, and he has to challenge himself to score more goals and be more clinical.
(Danny) is another one who has done a lot of individual work in training to create opportunities to cross and the quality on it. There is no secret to success - it's hard work, studying to evolve and get better.
“Danny has been terrific this season and has got himself into some terrific areas and, arguably, should have more assists.”
Liam Manning's MK Dons are back in action this Saturday when they take on Rotherham United 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.