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Neal on Bristol defeat

6 April 2013

Post-match reaction from the boss

Neal Ardley said it was important not to be too hard on his players after they came within eight minutes of holding in-form Bristol Rovers today.

The Wimbledon manager instead stressed that the squad must stick together with three crucial games still left to maintain the club’s League 2 status.

“It is always tough when you lose and tough at this stage of the season when you are running out of games,” Neal said. “But me slaughtering the players and looking to point fingers is not the right thing to do. Looking for solutions and working incredibly hard with the boys during the week is important. We need to maintain togetherness and keep the boys believing that they are good players. If we keep the performance levels high in the same way that we have since January then I am sure we can do what we need to do.

“We have to get the players ready for the next game. It is not going to be easy because we are playing against a good team (Exeter City) next Saturday and we are playing against good teams in the following weeks. But if we are at it then we can aim to win those games.”

With the Dons having not scored for three games, Neal Ardley added that “nervousness” had perhaps crept into his side’s attacking play.

“We were hard-working and disciplined away from home against the form team in the league,” Neal added. “We defended set-pieces well and lost the game to a half chance. We lacked quality at times up top. Maybe there was a bit of nerves. We are deflated after that because we felt that the worst-case scenario was that we would get a point.

“We are working very hard for each other to keep things tight and that means that sometimes the attacking prowess does not come to the fore. We worked hard on that on Thursday and Friday and we will work on it again during the week. But we cannot let that detract from the defensive side of things as Bristol never opened us up, but they scored from a half chance and we have lost the game.”

Neal Ardley said that Mat Mitchel-King was not considered fit enough to make the squad for Bristol after he sustained a back injury in the defeat against Barnet and Gary Alexander came off with an ankle injury today.

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