Mark Jackson praised his MK Dons squad for a strong, disciplined and brave performance in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Accrington Stanley.
Sullay Kaikai’s eighth-minute goal and a second successive clean sheet saw Jackson’s Dons secure a valuable three points at the Wham Stadium – a result which lifted them above their Lancashire opponents.
“We asked them to be brave and to control possession when they could,” Jackson said in his post-match press conference. “It took a lot of courage to do what we did, and when we were defending, we had to be strong and disciplined - we did all that.
“This is such a difficult place to come because they put you under a lot of pressure. We knew we had to be strong in certain areas and we had to stand tall.
“The influence of Dean Lewington is a massive factor. He's not the be-all-and-end-all, but he's a massive factor in the mentality of the group. He's such a calming influence, and when you're defending, that's massive.
“Other players are stepping up as well, knowing what is required, pushing through the mental side of it. Every player who came on played their part.
“They're all champing at the bit and they've all got a strong belief of what they can bring to the team, so when they get a chance, they want to come in and make a difference.”
Saturday’s win was the Dons’ second in a row and was enough for them to move out of the bottom four in Sky Bet League One.
“It seems to have been a long time since Port Vale, and we have addressed a lot of things since then. We were really proactive with what we wanted to do as a group, and we've managed to pick up two wins on the spin which is fantastic.
“Losing can become a habit but winning can as well so we have to grab hold of that winning mentality.
“We've had to deal with a lot of testing moments over the last few weeks, and we've come through that, but we've got to keep pushing.
“It's something we have to build on. It's only a little stepping stone and nowhere near job done. We have to be focussed to keep this run going.”