Liam Manning was disappointed that Saturday’s clash with Sheffield Wednesday was decided by two refereeing decisions.
MK Dons were beaten 1-0 by the Owls at Stadium MK, with the decisive goal coming from a controversial penalty in the first half – replays show that the foul for the spot-kick occurred outside the area.
Manning’s Dons were then denied a late penalty of their own when striker Matthew Dennis was pushed over in the box, leaving the Head Coach frustrated that a decent performance from his side was undone by two decisions out of their control.
“I'm extremely disappointed, and I'm disappointed for the lads, because the match was decided by the officials' mistakes,” Manning said in his post-match press conference.
“(Their penalty) was (a foul) outside the box, by about half a yard - for me that was quite obvious. Then, at the end, we could have got one when the centre-half comes across and puts two hands in the back of Matt Dennis, but that is not a foul apparently.
“How the game was officiated was the biggest disappointment, though. We had a meeting in the EFL in the summer about game management and time-wasting. He can keep blowing his whistle and telling them to hurry up but it didn't do anything.”
Manning added: “We gave them a hard afternoon where we dominated large spells. (David) Stockdale, our nemesis(!), made a few good saves from Kempy (Dan Kemp), Matt Smith and there was a block from Skip (Dean Lewington) too.
“Wednesday don't have an awful lot of changes to their side from last year, but we have made numerous changes and, bar a few counter attacks in the first half, we dominated a large majority of that game.
“I thought the control we had against an experienced side was much better. From that aspect, there was a lot more purpose, but I also felt there was more personality in the team - there was more purpose to score goals and win the game.
“When you see the progress they have made from last week to this, against a huge club with a huge budget, there are a lot of positives to come from the game which makes it more disappointing that it comes down to that.”
Defeat leaves MK Dons awaiting their first victory of the new season and while Manning is confident the side will soon start to find their groove, the Head Coach knows that results are needed.
“The style is important but winning is even more important. We play games to win and I've stressed that to them. Although there were some terrific elements, I don't want to come away having played well but lost.
“We have to win and pick up points. We have to understand it's a group with potential, and it will take time to get where we want to, but we have to shift that into winning games.
“We were much closer to that today and if we work as hard as we did today and deliver the plan, we'll win games. Fortunately, we've got so many games coming up that we've got a chance to bounce back quickly.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On the centre-back pairing of Warren O’Hora and Jack Tucker…
“When you look at Woz and Tucks together, they looked fantastic. They were on the front foot a lot more, with a high back line.
"Jack is someone who has a large number of games under him but he has been playing a different style, so he's been making different decisions to the ones he's asked to make now. I thought he was a huge positive - he showed his physicality, he read the game well, he defended well and made some good decisions as well."
On injuries to Will Grigg and Nathan Holland…
“Griggy felt his hamstring. Hopefully it was more precautionary than anything but it's too early to tell, so we'll have a look. Same with Nathan Holland.”
On Matt Dennis’ display…
“I thought he had a really positive impact on the game. He caused (Ben) Heneghan problems. He took it into feet well, rolled his man, and he should have got a penalty as well.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons turn their attention to the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night when they take on Sutton United at Stadium MK.
Tickets for the Round One tie, available to buy in the East Stand only, are priced at £12 adults, £9 over-65s, £6 under-25s and £3 under-18s while under-12s tickets are priced at £1.50.
To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933. Tickets will be available to buy right up until kick-off from the Box Office.