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Fixture News

Alexander: Motivation to bounce back

Head Coach Graham Alexander looks ahead to his side's Sky Bet League Two encounter with Colchester United...

18 August 2023

Fixture News

Alexander: Motivation to bounce back

Head Coach Graham Alexander looks ahead to his side's Sky Bet League Two encounter with Colchester United...

18 August 2023

Graham Alexander has been pleased with the response from his MK Dons squad since Tuesday night and believes they are eager to bounce back this weekend at Colchester United.

The Dons fell to their first league defeat of the campaign in midweek when they were beaten 2-1 by Crawley Town but they have an immediate opportunity to get back on the winning trail this Saturday at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Speaking to the media, Alexander said: “I could see how much it hurt them to get beat and that’s biggest thing for me - if they didn't care then there could be an issue. I don't see that in any of them and the motivation there is to win this next game.

“It's a process we're going through and we’re four games into that process. It’s still a new team but I've been delighted with their progress in that short period of time. We also understand that we still need to improve.

“We spoke about (Tuesday) and there were a couple of areas we felt we could improve and do better. It’s often just trying going over those things to make sure it becomes second nature to make right decision.

“We want to create an environment where we take on responsibility and we take on accountability, myself included. What I have found so far is that the players have responded really well to that.”

Alexander added: “As professional footballers, when you go into the arena and the crowd are baying and the points are on the table, you have to have that focus and a positive mentality to do what it takes to win the game.

“I think we've got really good professionals who want to win and that's what we've seen so far – through pre-season and the start of the season. There is a real desire to win so we have to tap into that, encourage it and continue to build on it.”

Saturday’s opponents Colchester United will be in search of their first league win of the campaign having suffered back-to-back defeats to kick-off the 2023/24 season. Alexander, though, isn’t reading too much into their results.

“There is no form at the moment, it's too early,” he said in his pre-match press conference. “Whatever the league table looks like now, it’s irrelevant.

“We cannot set our standard of performance by what the opposition bring to the game - we have to set our own levels. If we can do that consistently, I believe that is key to a successful season.

“Ultimately, every team is motivated to win games, and we have to go there and make sure we're ready to earn the right to win the game.”

Inevitably during the month of August, recruitment was a hot topic of conversation during this week’s press conference.

Six new faces have arrived at Stadium MK this summer and while Alexander re-affirmed the Dons’ desire to increase that number before the deadline, he wasn’t able to give timeframes on when he expects to see players join the Club.

“There are things in the pipeline but I don't know how long that pipeline is,” the Head Coach admitted. “One hundred per cent we're working, talking to agents and other clubs about players but when you're trying to recruit, the control is in other people's hands.

“I've got a meeting with Liam Sweeting and the Chairman to narrow down where we are on potential signings, outgoings and things like that. Hopefully, we'll get the work done we're trying to do.

“We know what we need, we're clear on that and it was the same message before we even kicked a ball this season. We've got a good group of players but they need a bit more support over the next nine months.

“I know the minimum of what we need to bring in, but whether we bring in more or less than that by the end of the window is anyone's guess. We are talking to about eight to ten players who we feel could improve us and hopefully we can get one or two of them.”

Alexander continued: “We’re not seeing other clubs signing players during this time either. We know that is what happens - there's a lull and then three days before the window shuts, it goes mental because time forces people's hands.

“We just have to keep the communication lines open with clubs and agents so when those decisions are made, people want to come and join us. This is an environment at this club where players will enjoy playing and progressing and hopefully, there's enough here to convince them this is the right place to come.”

***

Tickets for Saturday's clash with Colchester United can be bought at the JobServe Community Stadium ahead of kick-off from the self-serve ticket machine in the Club Shop - sales will be card only. Tickets are no longer available to buy through MK Dons.

Tickets bought on Saturday will be subject to matchday increases and will be priced at £23.50 adults, £18.25 concessions and £14.50 under-18s.

Can't make the game? Listen LIVE on iFollow MK Dons with an Audio Match Pass - CLICK HERE to purchase your Audio Match Pass for £2.50!


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