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Neal: signs of improvement

29 December 2013

Dons boss believes his side can turn the corner

Neal Ardley believes that today’s draw against Plymouth was a step in the right direction and that Wimbledon will improve during the second half of 2013/14.

Though a late Plymouth goal denied Wimbledon the perfect end to 2013 after a year of steady progress, Neal saw enough in the overall performance to suggest that his side are close to emerging from their sticky spell.

“We had lacked a cutting edge in the last few games and perhaps that was my fault,” Neal told Dons Player. “Maybe I am trying to evolve the attacking play too much and be a little bit too intricate. So today we tried to get more forward players into better positions and I thought that we were excellent in spells. Did we look like we had a cutting edge today? I thought that we did.

“Although we are going through that sticky spell, I think we have shown in the last couple of games that we’re not a bad side. We are not far away from being a good side. If we can keep the fitness high and the belief then I believe we have a set of players that will win a lot of games during the second half of the season.”

Neal reckoned that Wimbledon were not “street-wise” enough to cope with Plymouth’s second-half onslaught and he says that they have to learn the lessons from that.

“We were guilty of not seeing out the game,” the Wimbledon manager added. “We still tried to pass to feet when we were under pressure. We made a lot of bad decisions in the last 20 minutes and that led to us being under constant pressure. People always look at it and think that you sit back, but the opposition commit more bodies forward.

“John Sheridan went to 3-5-2 at the end and they probably had five players looking to go forward. We were honest in our defending, but we did not stretch the game enough and we did not hold the ball up front. We need to learn from that and become a bit more street-wise when defending a lead.”

 Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley and we will tomorrow feature the thoughts of returning captain Alan Bennett.

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