Liam Manning continued to see progress from his MK Dons side, despite his side suffering a first defeat in five to Derby County.
The Dons were unable to stretch their unbeaten run on Saturday, losing 3-1 to their play-off chasing visitors, who were able to convert their three shots on goal to secure the points at Stadium MK.
While disappointed to be beaten, Manning was pragmatic in his post-match assessment, acknowledging that the result wasn’t a true reflection of his side’s performance.
“Of course it hurts losing, but we've got positives to take,” the Head Coach said in his post-match press conference.
“I look back to where we were four or five weeks ago compared to now and, first of all, we've got our identity back, which we lacked in some games. We looked like a team, look like we wanted it - even at 3-1, no-one jacked in and gave up.
“Derby are an experienced side but we caused them real problems, in the first half especially. We just have to be more ruthless and show better quality around goal.
“They only had three shots on goal and we had more than them - and that's a frustration. From open play, they didn't really create anything but we allowed momentum to shift too easily by giving away needless set-pieces and then not dealing with them well enough, which has been the case too many times this season.”
“But, if we focus on the negatives, it can roll on and spiral so while we have to look at what's not been good enough – and that includes defending set-pieces - we have to focus on taking the positives into the next game. We've got to keep our emotions in check, build on it and move in the right direction.
“We're on a journey and it’s never going to be smooth. But, if we go out there and perform like that and take those chances we have, we'll win matches. We’ll do everything we can to do that next week.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference...
On conceding an equaliser so soon after taking the lead…
“It was a key moment, straight from kick-off pretty much. We have to do better to stop the corner in the first instance and then we don't defend it nearly well enough. When you don't defend them well enough, you leave yourself open.
On Louie Barry’s goal…
“It was a really good goal. A great ball from Nathan and then Louie showed his pace and composure. It’s an important goal for Louie - he's been performing well but the goals haven't quite been there, so it was good for him to get it.”
On naming the same starting XI for three successive games…
“We've got to a point where we've got that consistency. Previously, we were maybe chasing changes because people weren't performing, gelling or clicking. We've settled on this team now and you can see the relationships developing at the top end of the pitch. We have to keep making sure we're building on the aspects we're happy with but it’s clear the players understand the structure and their roles in the side now.”
On injuries to Louie Barry and Daniel Harvie…
“Louie took a hit to the head in the first half and the doctor saw signs of (a concussion) at half-time so we took him off. We need to still have a look at Dan but hopefully it's not too bad.”
Liam Manning and MK Dons will look to bounce back on Saturday when they travel to Oakwell to face Barnsley in their latest Sky Bet League One encounter.
Tickets, which can be bought both online and from the Box Office, are priced at £23 adults, £16 65+/young adults, £10 13-18s and £5 under-14s. Please note, if tickets are available to buy on the day of the game, they will be subject to a £2 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 and online up until 4pm on Friday 18 November.