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Fixture News

Jackson: A gritty win

Head Coach Mark Jackson reflects on the 1-0 victory over Forest Green Rovers...

27 December 2022

Mark Jackson praised a ‘gritty’ win from his MK Dons side, as they made it back-to-back Sky Bet League One victories for the first time this season.

In Jackson’s first game in charge, following his appointment late last week, the Dons picked up a valuable three points courtesy of a 1-0 win over Forest Green Rovers at Stadium MK – a result which lifts them to within a point of safety.

Despite his team having 68% possession and completing over 300 passes than the opponents, Jackson admitted his Dons weren’t at their fluent best but was pleased with their ability to find a way to win.

“To get the win is fantastic,” Jackson said in his post-match press conference. “You've got to enjoy victories and it’s great to get the win and to give that to the fans.

“It had to be gritty. We've got a clear identity but, for the short term, there are areas we’ve highlighted and one of them is our defensive mentality.

“Every player was doing everything to protect our goal. We gave up more free-kicks and corners than we'd have liked, but every time the ball came in, we wanted to defend and get first contact and put our bodies on the line.

“The lads were fantastic on the pitch, as they have been since I walked into the building. They've been attentive to what we're trying to do.

“It's always difficult to come in, in such a short period of time, and immediately impact the team so there haven't been big changes, just tweaks.

“There's only so much work we can do on the training ground at the moment so we need to navigate the festive period as positively as we can. We want to create positivity and I've not sensed anything but positivity from all aspects of the club since I arrived.”

Reflecting on the performance in further detail, Jackson said: “We had the ball for long periods and we could have done more with it but I'll develop that side. I knew we'd have the ball and I knew we'd be comfortable with it but it's my job to make us utilise it better.

“We could have come out, in the first-half, a bit more, and we had those opportunities but we turned back instead. My style is to dominate the ball but with a purpose. We need to teach the players how to do that more effectively but that will take time.

“We made a couple of tweaks at half-time to get Mo (Eisa) on the ball more. Nathan (Holland) was on the ball a bit but we wanted Mo to replicate that, so we moved him in a bit and he took that on - it gave him more joy in the second half. All I can ask for them is to take what we tell them onboard like that.”

Jackson became only the sixth manager in Club history to mark their first league came in charge with a victory and while eager to keep the focus on the team, the new Dons Head Coach says it’s a day that will live long in his memory.

“It's memorable for me and it will live with me forever,” he said. “Every aspect of the day today has been a first for me so I've tried to relish every moment, take it in, and savour it and I will do tonight.

“But, in the morning, we'll be looking towards Peterborough. Ultimately, you always have to focus on the next game coming because I know what football is like - it'll come back to bite you in the backside if you don't respect it.

“We know we've got a really tough period coming up and we have to be ready physically and mentally.”

Finally, Jackson reserved praise for Dean Lewington, David Martin and Bradley Jonson – all of whom played a part in keeping MK Dons ticking over in the interim period before his appointment.

“What (Dean) did in the interim was great, and Bradley and David Martin too. They’re really great people to step up and do that.

“(Dean and I) had a long conversation on the phone when I first came in, and another one today. He'll continue to be in the brace for a while, so won’t always be in but I'll always be in contact.

“For someone of that stature who has played that many games for the club, it's vital for me to engage with him to know more about the club. He can help me massively with that.”

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Mark Jackson's MK Dons will look to make it three straight Sky Bet League One wins on Thursday night when they travel to the Weston Homes Stadium to take on Peterborough United.

Tickets are priced at £27 adults, £22 65+, £18 under-24s, £9 under-18s and £3 under-12s. Tickets purchased on the night at the Weston Homes Stadium will be subject to a price increase.

To book tickets CLICK HERE, visit the Box Office at Stadium MK or call 01908 622933. Tickets will be available to buy from the Box Office up until 1pm on Thursday.


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