Mark Jackson is looking forward to spending two weeks on the training pitch with his MK Dons side, after they completed their three-game week with a tough trip to the league-leaders, Plymouth Argyle.
Jackson has led the Dons through three matches in his first nine days as Head Coach, but now has a fortnight to work with his players ahead of the Sky Bet League One clash with Lincoln City at Stadium MK on Saturday 14 January.
“We've got two weeks before Lincoln and that's what we've got to focus on now,” Jackson said in his post-match press conference following Sunday’s 3-1 defeat to Plymouth.
“We've had nine days together, three games and limited time on the training pitch so we have to keep things in perspective. It has been tough but credit to the staff, who have put 100 per cent effort in to supported me, which has made it easier.
“We’ve got time now, not to take our foot off the gas but to put it down and put some good work in. We know we’ve got a lot of work to do and now we've got some time to do that.
“We want to be more physically demanding of the players and we're asking their work-rate to be higher. That’s a tough ask, so we'll continue to look after them at times until they can fully adapt to how we want them to play, but I need to get them on the training pitch to implement my style.”
Jackson added: “I have to say, the players have been great since I got here. They've shown great desire to learn and get better and I’m sure that will continue into the next two weeks as they try to impress me.
“They'll be trying to implement their style on me as well and trying to get a starting place. I believe we have got a great group here already and I've got belief in these players in there because of what they’ve given me so far.”
Sunday’s defeat to Plymouth was the Dons’ second in succession but the performance at Home Park was a marked improvement on the showing at Peterborough United just a few days prior.
Reflecting on the display, Jackson said: “When you come to the league leaders who are full of confidence, it's always going to be tough.
“We came here with an idea of how we want to play, with and without the ball, and we changed the formation. We wanted to get our forwards into good positions and we did that and created chances. We knew we'd have to work hard out of possession and we did that, and kept our shape.
“We switched off at times and that meant they opened us up, but people are still learning what we want from them, so that can happen. We also conceded sloppy goals at the wrong times which meant we were up against it – it’s something we need to address as well.
“Taking the result out of it, though, I'll take positives from it.”
Here is what else Mark Jackson had to say in his post-match press conference…
On the January Transfer Window…
“I'm focussed on the squad here and the players we've got but I will also be working with Liam (Sweeting) and the recruitment staff to strengthen the squad. The Club are willing to look and help us strengthen but if anyone comes in, they have to enhance the squad.”
On the change of formation…
“I like playing 4-3-3 and that's what we'll be working towards. Within that formation we'll have slight adaptation for different games and scenarios with and without the ball, but that will be our formation.
“We made the switch for this game which was difficult because we've had limited time on the training ground. We’ve only been able to walk through it and watch video with the players but this next two weeks is an exciting challenge for me to work with the players, on the training pitch, to implement my philosophy and formation ahead of the Lincoln game.”
Mark Jackson's MK Dons return to Sky Bet League One action on Saturday 14 January when they face Lincoln City at Stadium MK.
Tickets 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.
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.
Meanwhile, MK Dons are offering Season Ticket holders the opportunity to claim a FREE additional ticket for the fixture and provide a friend or family member the opportunity to experience live football at Stadium MK - CLICK HERE for more information!