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Fixture News

Programme notes: Liam Sweeting & Liam Manning

The thoughts of Liam Sweeting and Liam Manning ahead of today's game...

22 October 2022

Read the programme notes from Sporting Director Liam Sweeting and Head Coach Liam Manning ahead of today's Sky Bet League One fixture with Wycombe Wanderers...

Liam Sweeting

Welcome back to Stadium MK for today’s Buckinghamshire derby and a warm welcome to our promotion rivals from last season, Wycombe Wanderers.
 
“If we were to plan the perfect journey, it wouldn’t start from here". One of our Directors said that to me last week and I found it to be a good summation of our current situation. Whilst none of us would have expected us to be where we are, we must own the situation, stick together and fight to find our way forward.
 
I want to level with everyone – our supporters, staff, partners and players – I understand the feeling of frustration and disappointment that we haven’t picked up more points and performed better so far this season, and I certainly won’t be listing excuses or trying to lower expectations here. The reality is, every day, I see a group of players, coaching staff and support staff who are absolutely focussed on improving themselves individually and collectively to help turn this around.
 
So far this season, we have seen real highs of exceptional attacking play at Watford and Morecambe, we’ve seen discipline and resilience away at Oxford United and bravery and spirit against the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Port Vale. The challenge now is putting it together, and no better time to do it than against our Buckinghamshire rivals here today. I think one thing we can all agree on is that we are at our best when we play with control, intensity and attacking intent – these are our core principals and remain at the heart of how we will approach the upcoming games. 
 
I also want to recognise an area where we have listened to the views of supporters, and that relates to player engagement. We have all seen the impact it can have when we there is a strong connection between the fans and the players on a matchday, especially here at Stadium MK but it extends beyond that. We know there is more we can do, before and after games, as well as during the week, to engage with our supporters and ensure there will always be a strong bond between fans and players. We are discussing ways we can enhance this engagement and we hope you can see improvements in the coming weeks and months.
 
Progress towards any goal is rarely a journey in a straight line, it involves ups and downs but belief and hard work is what will get us through – I know we’ll work harder than anyone to get us back where we want to be.
 
Come on you MK Dons.

***

Liam Manning

Good afternoon everyone and welcome back to Stadium MK. I would like to start by extending that welcome to Gareth Ainsworth and his Wycombe Wanderers team.

It has been a tough few weeks in terms of results and, understandably, people will look to the league position we are in. We are under no illusions - we have to start winning football matches and we have to start producing better performances.

Fortunately, there are still a huge number of points to play for and plenty of games coming in quick succession, providing us with an opportunity to drastically change our current standing. This isn’t going to be a quick fix – we know we have a long road ahead of us before we will get back to the levels we expect on a consistent basis – but we want to start that journey as soon as possible, and we have been working hard to ensure that begins this afternoon here at Stadium MK.

Internally, as players and staff, we have spoken a lot around focusing on the short-term and controlling what we can control in order to make daily improvements. It’s important we stick together and rally around one another, and we must also use the frustration and disappointment as motivation to drive us on to put things right.

What we have learned through this spell is that the only way we will get out of out is by staying true to us and to the MK Dons way of playing. We are a team that wants to control the ball, work out hard of possession and play attacking football. We want to play with a purpose and progress up the pitch to create opportunities to attack goal. We saw improvements in that against Plymouth Argyle and, again, on Tuesday night away at Walsall in the Papa John’s Trophy.

While our focus is, of course, on the league and improving our form, the cup competitions provide us with a chance to give opportunities to players in our squad who aren’t getting minutes regularly. We have three cup ties coming up across the Emirates FA Cup, Carabao Cup and Papa John’s Trophy – all three of which will take place here at Stadium MK - and they are all matches we will be taking seriously, with an eye on winning the game as well as giving our players the chance to impress.

Before then, though, we have three very important Sky Bet League One fixtures to focus on and, as ever, the players will need your support as they look to do all they can to produce performances you can be proud of as an MK Dons fan.

Enjoy the game.


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