Liam Manning praised his MK Dons squad for their patience and discipline in Saturday’s 4-1 thrashing of Gillingham.
Manning’s side enjoyed 84% of the possession at the MEMS Priestfield Stadium but had to wait until the final 10 minutes of the game to add their final two goals and secure a scoreline that reflected their dominant showing.
“The biggest challenge in these games is maintaining discipline with the ball, moving it quick enough, not forcing things and not becoming impatient,” the MK Dons Head Coach said in his post-match press conference.
“It was a case of being patient and I thought the guys did that, to be fair. Sometimes you can get caught out in these games, and have moments where you do switch off, but we showed really good focus throughout.
“It was a really difficult game – we knew that coming in to it. We knew they would be well organised, we knew they’d work hard.
“I thought we started well – the first 10 minutes we played well but we then had a 10-15 minute period where we forced things a little bit. The sending off played a big part and, after that, we got the goal back and we got some momentum back in the game.
“We rode out a 10-minute period where we didn’t control the ball as well. That’s always going to happen – they are chasing the game and want to get back into it. Ultimately, I was pleased with how we did that.”
The win lifts MK Dons up to third in the Sky Bet League One table and within a point of league leaders Wigan Athletic – Manning, though, isn’t paying attention to the standings at this stage.
“Momentum and winning football matches is extremely important but we’re definitely not looking at league tables at the moment,” he said. “It’s about coming in and controlling what we can day to day, week to week.
“At the minute, enjoy it but understand why it happens and that’s why I give a huge amount of credit to the guys – the way they work, their attitude every day.
“We won’t get carried away with ourselves because we have a lot of work still to do. It’s about staying grounded, staying humble and continuing to work hard and improve.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On goals coming from different players…
“We’ve got multiple people that can score goals, we’re not dependent on one person. Credit to the guys and the quality they have, the creativity they have and, at the minute, that ruthless edge which is really important for us – we have to keep that.”
On Max Watters scoring his first MK Dons goal…
“I’m delighted for Max. It’s been a tough start obviously missing a few games. He’s worked hard to get back into the condition he’s in. He’s had a good couple of weeks of solid training and I was delighted for him to come on and have the impact and get the goal.”
On his striking options…
“When you look at the options we have, with Mo still to come back, we’ve got real good variation in our frontline. What that allows us to do is be adaptable and make decisions in games to change it depending on how we think we can get success.”
On Gillingham’s goal…
“You’re always disappointed to concede goals. I haven’t seen it back but one of the guys has said it was potentially offside. When you’re in control like that, it’s really important we don’t switch off and find a way to maintain control in them moments.”
On the red-card decision…
“I thought it was a second yellow. I think it was the correct the decision. I haven’t seen it back but from what I saw, it looked like the right decision.”
On coming from behind once again…
“It’s a positive and a negative. It shows that we’ve got character and togetherness – we are a solid unit that can bounce back and respond like that. At the same time, we don’t want to make it a habit, we don’t want to keep going behind in games and having to crawl our way back. We’ll go away and assess and figure out what we can do to improve.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons return to Stadium MK action on Saturday 25 September when they take on Wycombe Wanderers in a third versus fifth Sky Bet League One clash.
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.