Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Manning: Players stepped in and delivered

Head Coach Liam Manning reflects on the 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers...

6 October 2021


Manning: Players stepped in and delivered

Head Coach Liam Manning reflects on the 2-1 win over Wycombe Wanderers...

6 October 2021

Head Coach Liam Manning was pleased to provide an opportunity for players in the Papa John’s Trophy tie with Wycombe Wanderers.

Manning made 10 changes for Tuesday’s visit of Wycombe and his new-look side certainly took their chance, securing a 2-1 victory and booking MK Dons’ place in the knockout stages of the competition as a result.

“I was really pleased,” Manning said in his post-match press conference. “We made quite a few changes to see some of the guys who haven’t had a huge number of minutes and I was pleased with the attitude of the guys and how they applied themselves in a really difficult game.

“The difficulty since we’ve had since we come in is that, because we’ve been on such a good run, it’s been difficult to make changes and give people opportunities.

"I’ve just told the guys to control what they can control – they can’t control the team selection or the changes we make but they can control what they do when they step in.

“It’s important we have a culture here where everybody buys in – whether they are in the team, not in the team, everybody is ready to step in and ultimately give me headaches in terms of team selection. The guys did that tonight with some really good individual performances.”

On Tuesday's collective display, Manning said: “We showed an element of us which, in what wasn’t the prettiest of games, we can scrap, we can fight and we can defend set-pieces. It’s something that’s going to be important for us over the course of a season.

“(Wycombe) are really effective with how they play. You know they are going to cause problems with how they play forward and run forward - what was pleasing was how we dealt with that.

“We showed good composure and discipline to defend set-pieces and we were composed in block - it’s not about pressing like crazy for 95 minutes.

"At times, against a really good press, we showed good moments to break through that or over it. I thought we were unpredictable at times and adapted quite well.

“It was a difficult game to step into and they stepped up and delivered - credit to the guys.”

The victory secures MK Dons’ place in the knockout stages of the competition for the third consecutive season and also sees them return to winning ways after the defeat to Doncaster Rovers last weekend.

“To get the win is important,” Manning said. “Winning can become a habit and, without stating the obvious, what you don’t want to do is repeatedly lose games. Culturally, it’s good that we can bounce back and show an element of resilience and response.

“Any player, whenever they play, wants to do well and wants to win. I struggle to get my head around people not taking the competition seriously. We made changes but I still put a team out there that I felt could compete to win and we’ll do that throughout the rest of the competition.”

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

On Mo Eisa...
“I thought he looked sharp. He was disappointed not to start at the weekend, which is a good thing – you want players that are hungry and want to push. He showed some really good movement. The first goal was real high-quality in terms of movement but also with the ball. I was pleased to see him back and I thought he looked sharp throughout.”

On David Kasumu…
“He was feeling it coming off in terms of lungs and legs but I thought he was extremely dynamic, powerful and quick. He is going to progressively get better, the more he plays. Delighted to have him back.”

On Brooklyn Ilunga making his full debut…
“It’s a big part of the history of this club in terms of bringing players through. It was great for him to make a full debut and I thought he did well. He showed good energy, good aggression. Terrific job from the Academy and their staff and credit Brook for how he played tonight.”

On Hiram Boateng’s goal…
“It was very similar to some of the goals he’s already scored which shows real good desire, timing and energy to get in the box and a composure to finish. He’s got that habit and it’s something he needs to keep doing.”

On Zak Jules’ goal…
“It was a terrific finish. It was a worked set-piece, with a really good block in there to open up Zak who showed the composure to take the finish.”

On Warren O’Hora as captain…
“Really pleased with Woz. He set the tempo of us in possession, especially in the first half when he broke the lines. We felt our 10 was free at times with them trying to trap us out wide – he found that a few times and that worked well to set us off. In possession, he showed good composure. Leadership and defensively, he was really solid too. He showed a real calming influence to the guys around him. I thought he was excellent.”

On an opportunity for rest this weekend…
“When we’re in, we work with real intensity, whether it’s training, whether it’s video work, whether it’s gym work. With the volume of games we have over the course of the season, I think it’s really important that we find small windows to give players a good amount of rest so that they can switch off and consolidate some learning when they’re away. Then, when they come back in, we work hard and get ready for Shrewsbury.”

On his Manager of the Month nomination…
“It’s an honour to be put forward but I feel a little uneasy (speaking about it) as it’s not about me, it’s about the staff and the players and the outcome that we saw in September was a result of everybody’s hard work. It’s really important to highlight that. Huge privilege but ultimately, it’s for everybody at the Club.”

On Scott Twine’s Player of the Month nomination…
“It’s thoroughly deserved if you look at what he did over the course of September. He showed be extremely proud for being nominated. He has set a benchmark for himself and the challenge now is to go again and sustain the level.”

Advertisement block

iFollow Next Match Tickets Account