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Sweeting: A collective responsibility to improve

Sporting Director Liam Sweeting on what's next for MK Dons...

12 December 2022

Sporting Director Liam Sweeting says he is under no illusions that MK Dons must improve in all areas if they are to avoid suffering relegation from Sky Bet League One.

The decision was made, on Sunday, to part company with Head Coach Liam Manning and his coaching team, with the Dons currently lying 22nd in Sky Bet League One, six points adrift of safety and without a league win in five.

Speaking to iFollow MK Dons this weekend, Sweeting addressed the state of play at Stadium MK and discussed what comes next for the Club following Manning’s departure.

“First and foremost, Liam Manning and his staff are people we think incredibly highly of their dedication and commitment to their roles wasn’t in question,” he said.

“What we achieved last year was incredible, but we have to take stock of where we are. Ultimately, the league position is unacceptable and therefore we have made the decision to change the leadership and the coaching staff to try and make an impact and address the position that we’re in.

“The bottom line is, we’re halfway through the season and we’re second bottom of the table - as it stands, we’re relegated. We have to collectively take responsibility for that, and everyone on and off the pitch has to improve quickly.

“There are multiple things that are being looked at continuously, but I have to send a very clear message to everybody that we have to up our game and we must do better to address the position we’re in.

“We’re aware of where we are, but I think the belief and the potential is there to do better and get out of this mess. It’s not just going to happen - it’s going to take really hard work and ownership of the position we’re in to improve.

“Change presents the opportunity to turn things around. The potential of this group is a lot higher than what we’re seeing, and we need to find a way to bring out that potential quickly because we need results now.

“I’m really clear of the profile I want to come in and make an impact. The writing is on the wall of what we need - we need leadership, we need impact.

“I have an idea of where we want to go with this process, but these things are extremely difficult to put a timeframe on. We’re going to move as quickly as we can because the games are coming thick and fast, and it’s a really important period heading into January.

“It’ll take as long as it takes because we must find the right person for this role.”

In the interim, the Dons will lean on the experience of captain Dean Lewington, who will take care of the first-team until a new Head Coach is appointed and will take charge of the Papa John’s Trophy tie with Bristol Rovers on Tuesday evening.

Sweeting said on Lewington: “I’m incredibly thankful for Dean because he has stepped in again and we mustn’t take that for granted.

“He will take care of the immediate short-term needs for the first team, whilst also going through the rehabilitation for the recent injury he suffered. We’re extremely thankful to him for that.”

The Sporting Director also had a message for the MK Dons supporters, who have expressed their disappointment and frustration in recent weeks.

“I thank all the fans for their patience but we have got to stick together. The periods of games where we have been on top, their support within them moments have been really key and we will continue to need that.

“We need all of that and then the players need to give them it back so that they can start to see recovery and see us getting out of this mess. There’s over half a season to go, and if we all get it right then we can get out of it for sure.”


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