Liam Manning is focusing on the controllables as he looks to lead MK Dons through their difficult spell of form.
MK Dons have suffered defeat in each of their last four Sky Bet League One fixtures, with their latest being Saturday’s 4-1 reverse at home to top-of-the-table Plymouth Argyle.
It’s a run of results that has them sitting 22nd in the table but with games coming thick and fast, Manning says his attention is on doing what he can to provide the players with the support to start turning their fortunes around.
“We can only concentrate on what we can control,” the MK Dons Head Coach said in his post-match press conference. “As a group we have to stick together and we have to use (the disappointment and criticism) to drive us to put things right.
“There is so much to still play for. People will look at league position, understandably, but there are still a huge number of points to play for. We now have to respond on Tuesday and then again next Saturday.”
Reflecting on Saturday’s result and performance, Manning said: “First and foremost any loss hurts, but it's the way you do it.
“We had a look at Tuesday, and it wasn't like us. Ultimately, it was a lot more like us today and it was a step in the right direction for how we want to play and what we want to do.
(Plymouth) are a well-organised side with good rotation, physicality and an attacking threat, and their run of form has been incredible. Schuey (Steven Schumacher) has done a great job there - they're a little like we were this time last year.
“We started the game well but that first goal was a right sucker-punch. We were looking like causing them problems and so to concede deflated us a bit.
“Jamie (Cumming) has been outstanding for us, and he'll bounce back from that, I know he will because of the character he is. You can go through numerous games where he has kept us in it, reduced it or won us games. We won't be looking too much at that one.
“We had some really good chances after that and we started the second half really well and scored a good goal. We've been guilty of not creating enough or not looking dangerous enough, but I think we did that today, we're just missing that final bit.
“Mistakes at key times at the moment are costing us Mistakes happen in every game but we can't repeat them. We will sit and work with the players, and challenge them to do better.”
Manning added: “I'm hurt but there are positives to take. If we'd have put in that performance against Shrewsbury (Town) or Bristol Rovers, we might have got something from the game.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On Will Grigg…
“You can see how hard he works for the team. He's so selfless with his running and he has quality too. With Louie Barry and Nathan Holland up there with him, he had support and players who can carry the ball - the combination between the three was good today.”
On Nathan Holland…
“He has not had a huge amount of minutes since he came to the Club for various reasons but what we saw were flashes of why we brought him here. The challenge for him is to sustain that, continue to deliver and add quality in the final bit. We'll push him and hopefully he can build on that.”
On Louie Barry…
“Louie is extremely young and will learn bundles from the game today. He did so many positive things and, ultimately, we don't need to talk about the mistake because he knows. There is a lot to take from the positions he took up, the way he turned in between the lines, drove forwards. He did some terrific things today.
Liam Manning and MK Dons turn their attention to the Papa John's Trophy on Tuesday when they take on Walsall at the Poundland Banks's Stadium.
Tickets, which are available to buy online and from the Box Office, are priced at £5 adults and £1 over-60s/under-18s. To book tickets/travel 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 midday on Tuesday.