Liam Manning praised a much-changed MK Dons side for securing a deserved victory in their Carabao Cup tie with Sutton United.
Manning made seven changes for Tuesday’s Round One clash at Stadium MK, including handing first starts to Darragh Burns, Matthew Dennis and Dawson Devoy, and the latter provided the assist for the game’s decisive goal, scored by Conor Grant.
Reflecting on the win in his post-match press conference, Manning said: “I think the lads deserved it. We created a lot of good chances, got into good areas and scored a goal worthy of winning the game.
“We’ve talked a lot about going through experiences, and that was an experience for them ticked off tonight. We had really good control at times and good quality to go through them but we had to see it out in the last five minutes. There was a lot to take from the game.
“The potential in the group is really high, and the performance level and the experience is where we're lacking so we have to challenge the players to develop that but also to be patient.
“I was really pleased against a team that is very difficult to play against, who are so clear in their style and their roles. In any game, you have to be willing to go and scrap, fight and match the opposition. I was happy with how we competed but also pleased with how we didn't allow the game to stay in that transitional scrap, but to shift it to our style.”
Manning added: “We go into every game wanting to win, whatever team we pick and whatever competition so I'm pleased to be into the next round.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On Will Grigg and injuries…
“We're still waiting on the report back on his injury but it's looking promising. The most important thing is not to rush into getting a replacement in if we don't need it. We have a plan that we'll stick to and we won't change just because of this injury.
“We've got a few out which isn't ideal, but you don't want to go and sign a bunch of people to cover for injuries because when they come back you've got a huge squad. We'll work with Liam (Sweeting) to look at the group we've got, the rough 'return to play' schedules and work from that.”
On the Irishmen’s performances…
“They showed why we wanted to get them in. Conor (Grant) showed some terrific moments with the way he moved with the ball and Darragh (Burns) was similar - he's direct with his one-on-one ability and he had numerous good opportunities. Dawson (Devoy) made a terrific pass for the goal, with the vision and awareness to reverse it like that was outstanding. We're delighted to have them and it's on them to get up to speed and on us to help them through that.”
On Dawson Devoy’s development…
“He's got some really good qualities but we have to understand where he's come from. There are some really talented players in the League of Ireland but the demands and training programmes are so different, so it takes time for them to adapt to the intensity of our schedule, our 55-game season and the sheer demands of what we put on them - physically and the number of meetings we have with them. Those things take time but we know he’s got ability, it's just about adapting to how we work.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons turn their attention back to Sky Bet League One and Saturday's trip to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town.
A limited number of tickets from the Club's initial allocation of 564 remain available to buy, priced at £27 adults, £20 seniors, £14 under-23s and £7 under-19s. The Club has requested further tickets from Ipswich Town and will update in due course.
Official away travel is available for this fixture, with coach spaces priced at £23 Season Ticket holders/members and £24 all other supporters. Coaches will depart Stadium MK at 11am.
To purchase tickets/travel CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933. Tickets will be available to buy up until 4pm on Friday.
Please note, this fixture has been declared ALL-TICKET meaning there will be no sales on the day of the game. All tickets must be purchased in advance from MK Dons.