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Alexander: Work to improve will be continuous

Head Coach Graham Alexander reflects on pre-season after friendly finale at Stadium MK...

31 July 2023


Alexander: Work to improve will be continuous

Head Coach Graham Alexander reflects on pre-season after friendly finale at Stadium MK...

31 July 2023

Pre-season wrapped up for MK Dons at the weekend, as Graham Alexander got one final look at his side before the Sky Bet League Two campaign begins in earnest at Wrexham on Saturday.

The Dons have been back in training for five weeks, preparing for their opening league clash in North Wales with double sessions, a number of pre-season friendlies and a trip to Germany.

Reflecting what he has learnt from pre-season, Head Coach Alexander told the media: “We knew even before today we had a lot of work to do because you don't correct everything in four weeks of pre-season with a new manager. We know that this work will be continuous.

“I couldn't have asked for more in terms of how we pressed, how we turned the ball over and how we created opportunities to score but there is a deficiency, and we can't ignore that.

“We've learned a lot over the pre-season campaign so far, but we know we've got a job on here. We've got talented boys, motivated boys, but these are the sorts of things we have to correct.

“We can correct it with individuals already here. We have to give confidence to players, but they also have to take ownership of what has gone on and what's happening now.

“The biggest thing for me is to look forward to what we can achieve in the future. The past is the past and we're not going to change it so we have to clear any minds of that feeling.

“We also need to bring players in to help us improve. We've got real talent here and I believe we've got enough to be a competitive team, but as a competitive squad, I think we need to strengthen. We're all on the same page – me, Liam (Sweeting) and the Chairman - we all know that and we're working hard to try and improve.”

Pre-season culminated in Saturday’s friendly with Sky Bet League One outfit Northampton Town – a match which looked to, at least, be heading for a draw until two late goals from the Cobblers saw them claim victory.

Alexander, discussing the game itself, told the media: “Whereas I thought Tuesday was a game too far for us, coming off the back of training in Germany, today was more of a test of what we’re likely to face week-in, week-out.

“For the most of it, we stood up to it and excelled but the game is about winning and we have to understand that really quickly.

“The difference from the first 15 minutes was night and day. We looked worried about taking a step-forwards at the start and it allowed Northampton to dominate the game. It was the opposite of what we've done all pre-season so far.

“We made a change to the formation and we were undoubtedly better after that. It was not because we took Brooklyn (Ilunga) off - it was nothing to do with Brooklyn and I apologised to him on behalf of the team at half-time

“Once we corrected it, we did really well. But, we then did the same that we did against Coventry (City) and that’s conceding two goals in two minutes. It's a historical issue that we have to deal with.

“There's no magic wand to get over that one, so we have to make sure we're mentally stronger as a club, as a team, to make sure when there's a disappointment, we park it and continue the game.”

One real positive from Saturday’s friendly was the performance of first-year pro Joel Anker, who was handed a start by Alexander and took his chance with an excellent performance, capped off by an assist for Warren O’Hora’s second-half goal.

“He earned the chance, I didn't give him anything,” Alexander said of his young attacker. “He put himself forward from the first day of pre-season training, putting himself out in front with the running, and everything we've put in front of him since, he's attacked.

“He's got loads of personality, he's tactically astute and fit. I had no fears of playing him - I don't care about age, numbers, wages, or names, I care about how my team needs to play and whoever helps us win, plays.

“He's a young player and we have to make sure he realises that today doesn't count much for the next game, but he has certainly shown what he can do. Hopefully, as well, he’s shown the others players here that if you do what is expected of you, then you'll play.”


Graham Alexander's men are back in Stadium MK action on Tuesday 8 August when they take on Wycombe Wanderers in Round One of the Carabao Cup.

Tickets are on sale now from the Box Office and online, with discounts available for Season Ticket holders if bought in advance.

Season Ticket holders can purchase tickets at a rate of £10 adults, £8 over-65s, £8 under-25s, £5 under-21s and £1 under-14s while general sale tickets are priced at £12 adults, £10 over-65s, £10 under-25s, £6 under-21s and £1 under-14s.

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.

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