Liam Manning was left with mixed emotions after Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Cheltenham Town.
Despite dominating the Sky Bet League One clash at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium, MK Dons looked to be heading for defeat – that was until substitute Hiram Boateng scored an 87th-minute goal to salvaged a much-deserved point for his side.
“To score late and come away with a point isn’t a bad thing given how the game started but that feeling of frustration is certainly there,” Manning said in his post-match press conference.
“Ultimately, when you look back on the game, we started too slow. In the first 15 minutes we lacked quality, we lacked intensity, we were a bit too deep.
“After Peter’s tackle in the first half, it kicked us to life a little bit. From then on, we created a number of chances and had several good opportunities which we have to be ruthless with.
“After the first 15 minutes, I thought we completely controlled the game in terms of possession. I don’t remember Fish having too many saves to make and wasn’t troubled too much.
“They are well coached, well organised and well set up – it’s extremely difficult to break down their block. It was a case of being patient and making them run. We worked on the top of the box moving into wide areas to cause them problems which sometimes worked really well.
“Our structure was good, play was good, ball speed, for the most part, was good but you can’t create four or five chances and not take them. But, credit to the guys in terms of sticking at it and in terms of grinding out to nick a point.”
Manning added: “It’s frustrating because it’s a game we had control and chances but, the bigger picture, picking up points away from home is really important.
“We’ve got some disappointed players in there, which is good. Come the end of the season, going away from home and picking up points against well-organised teams is not a bad thing but, with how the game went, you can’t help but have that little bit of frustration.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On missing players…
“It’s always difficult when you lose players but it provides another opportunity. We have some good players who stepped in. Charlie (Brown) is a good player. He had some good chances and that’s the bit where you talk about game rhythm and confidence. He has take them, ultimately, but I think if he’s in match tempo then it might be a different story. We saw Hiram (Boateng) come on and score again and have another really good impact. He could have had another when he received the ball on the edge of the box.”
On Hiram Boateng’s impact…
“I said to Hiram, it’s good headaches to cause me. I can’t speak highly enough of Hiram since I’ve been here. He turns up and does things properly every day whether he’s in the team or not in the team. If you look at his numbers in terms of minutes to goals, it’s a good ratio. It’s similar to last weekend when he comes on against Accrington and creates the second goal. That’s what we need. We need everybody in the squad pushing. Changes can happen so quickly in football. One week you don’t think you’re anywhere near the team and then a week later you are starting. It’s about making sure you’re ready.”
On Cheltenham’s goal…
“It was a slight disconnect between the units. We were a little bit too low, a little bit too deep. We weren’t quite set up properly for the goal we conceded which is disappointing and frustrating but it’s an opportunity to learn from and go away and get better.”
On three weeks without a Tuesday fixture…
“We’ve got a solid three weeks of training so it would be good to get out on the grass and tweak some things and build on some of things we’ve seen today. It’s about fine tuning – the guys aren’t far away and there are some really, really good things that they are doing at the moment. For me, it’s about the fine tuning and adding the slight details that can get us the results that we need.”
Liam Manning's MK Dons return to Stadium MK action on Saturday as they look to record a third straight home victory over Portsmouth.
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.