Liam Manning felt his side’s display at Walsall was much more akin to what is expected of an MK Dons team.
Manning’s men were 2-0 winners at the Poundland Bescot Stadium – a result which secured their place atop their Papa John’s Trophy group and ensured passage through to the knockout stages of the competition.
On top of the result, the Dons enjoyed 58% of possession, made 509 passes and took eight shots on goal – positives that the Head Coach hopes to be able to take into this weekend’s Sky Bet League One fixture with Wycombe Wanderers.
“The result is great but the biggest plus is the performance,” Manning said in his post-match press conference.
“We're trying to play our way and we challenged the lads to do that tonight. We wanted them to win but to play our style too. We had terrific control, especially in the first half.”
Manning continued: “The players are still understanding our style and trying to find ways to control games in possession, not for the sake of possession but to progress up the pitch, set up in their half and look for opportunities to score.
“We did that tonight, in the back and middle third. We had people wanting the ball and being brave with it. They did that well.”
Here is what else Liam Manning had to say in his post-match press conference…
On Henry Lawrence finding the net…
“He had (a chance) in the first half too, which was a terrific strike. We challenged these lads to step up and give me a headache and make difficult decisions. Henry showed some good moments tonight, and the goal was a terrific finish.”
On Matt Smith playing right-back…
“He's played there for Wales and he did well in that spot - he was another positive. Matt has got great intensity and we want him to match that with the quality we know he has in there - we want him to consistently develop that.”
On Nathan Holland impressing…
“It was a terrific run to win the free-kick and the finish was too. Nathan hasn't had the start to life here that either he or we wanted but that's where we're at. He can be big for us, though, and he's starting to show why we signed him. We want him to deliver like he has in training recently, like he did on Saturday and coming on tonight. The challenge is now to consistently deliver it.”
On progressing in the Papa John’s Trophy…
“With the size of the squad, having an additional game isn't such a bad thing to give people an opportunity.”
Liam Manning's MK Dons return to Sky Bet League One action this Saturday when they welcome Wycombe Wanderers to Stadium MK.
Tickets, which are available to buy online and from the Box Office, are priced from £24 adults, £18 over-65s, £12 under-25s and £6 under-18s while under-12s and under-7s tickets are priced from £3. Upgrades are available to East Centre and Club Red. Please be aware, ticket prices will be increase by £2 on the day of the game.
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.