Neal Ardley admitted his “honeymoon period” as AFC Wimbledon manager is now over after today’s defeat at home to Cheltenham Town.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal admitted there is plenty to work on after his first match as Wimbledon manager ended with a loss.
“I am disappointed with the result as it would have been a good lift to have got a win today,” he said. “The performance was good in patches and we had a good goal threat, but we have loads to work on next week. The fans were great, they stayed with us, and if Byron had scored in the last minute, then it would have been a great ending, but unfortunately it never went in.
“The boys worked hard and kept pressing. Obviously, I am not up to speed about how fit they are and if they can get fitter and stronger. There is loads to do and not much time to do it, but we need to get to work. In this league you cannot switch off for one minute, you need to do the mucky side of things well. The first goal came from a knock down and the second goal from a set-piece, and we had worked on defending them in training yesterday. The players need to learn quickly.”
Our new manager added that he was most impressed by the forward play of our goalscorer Byron Harrison, who almost ended an emotional week for Neal by helping us secure a point late on.
“I was excited, but nervous at the same time before today,” he added. “I have thoroughly enjoyed it, but the honeymoon period is over and now we have to crack on and get to work.
“I thought Byron was excellent today and we will work to make him better, to improve his game and his awareness. Hopefully, he can get us the goals that we need during the rest of the season.”
The full video interview with Neal can be viewed on Dons Player tonight, along with the thoughts of Seb Brown about being Wimbledon captain against Cheltenham today.