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Dons boss blames himself

5 February 2013

Neal Ardley admits he got it wrong at Vale

Neal Ardley said that he was to blame for Wimbledon’s defeat at Port Vale tonight after his experimental defensive formation failed to work against the league leaders.

The Wimbledon manager handed Alan Bennett his debut in a 5-4-1 formation, but he admitted afterwards that the players had not got to grips with the system they had worked on in training.


“I am going to take the rap for tonight,” he said. “I played with five at the back as I felt that we were playing against the best front four in the league. Port Vale’s goals record speaks for itself and we did not want their wingers running at us too much. We therefore tried to get our wing-backs tight to them.

“But we switched off early from a set-piece and conceded a sloppy goal. It was never going to be easy after that. We had one or two chances at 1-0 to get back into it, but we did not take them. Though we could have done better in winning our one-on-one battles, I will take the hit for tonight. I asked the players to play a different system and we practiced it in training, but it did not work for us.”

Neal Ardley added that he will demand a reaction from his players at Chesterfield on Saturday after Wimbledon’s first defeat of 2013 – and their first loss since Oxford United on 28 December.

“We did not play with enough quality, conviction or belief,” he said. “I told the boys afterwards that we have to make sure we know what we are doing on Saturday and put in a performance. I thought Port Vale were very good at what they did and we struggled to cope. We have to re-group and go again at Chesterfield.”

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