Liam Manning was willing to take substance over style as his MK Dons side moved into the top two in Sky Bet League One with a 2-1 victory over Crewe Alexandra.
Manning’s men, now unbeaten in 14 games, were able to get past Crewe thanks to first-half goals from Republic of Ireland internationals Troy Parrott and Conor Coventry, despite not being at their absolute peak in terms of performance levels.
Speaking afterwards, the MK Dons Head Coach said: “We did what we needed to do to get over the line and, at this stage of the season, that's the most important thing.
“It was a tough game. (Crewe) are a young side but they have some really talented players who can cause you problems, at times.
“It was tough at times and, even though we have been on a really good run, the dressing room is pretty flat.
“They’re so self-aware that I don’t need to knock them for being sloppy. They're disappointed with Crewe's goal but the main thing is coming away with the three points.”
Manning continued: “We showed some good moments. The ball from Skip (Dean Lewington) is terrific and (Troy Parrott showed) good composure for the finish.
“I thought (Troy) made quite a slow start but I'm delighted for him to get a goal and it's massive for him now to keep up that momentum.
“The same for the second too - a moment of real quality which allowed us to win the game. It's about time (for Conor) but it’s a terrific finish.”
Tuesday’s result saw MK Dons move above Rotherham United and into second place in Sky Bet League One, albeit having played two more games than the Millers who weren’t in midweek action.
On the team’s current position, Manning said: “We'll just keep chipping away and control what we can which is churning out performances that keep us in the position we want to be in.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On the impact of his substitutes…
“(We wanted to) change the momentum of the game. I thought Theo (Corbeanu) and Connor (Wickham) did well when they came on, especially Connor who I think they feared a little bit in terms of how big and strong he is and also how well he uses his body. The changes helped us get back in control.”
Every opposition is treated with respect. They're a young side but they have some really talented players who can cause you problems at times. Whether it's here against Crewe or at Sunderland in front of 30,000, it's the same focus and mindset.
On Harry Darling’s nomination for Player of the Month…
“He has had a really solid month. He's still only 22, despite all his appearances, and when you think of the age a centre back peaks at, he's still got a while to go before he gets there.
“He's shown a lot of progress across the season and that's a credit to the staff but Harry too for working on his own programme and improving his game.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons will look to secure a fourth straight Sky Bet League One victory on Saturday when they take on AFC Wimbledon at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Just over 100 tickets remain on sale to supporters with Club ticketing history, priced at £22 adults, £15 over-65s, £11 18-21s and £6 under-18s £6.
To purchase tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933.