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Neal on York challenge

7 March 2013

Manager hopes his side can play with freedom

Neal Ardley says he is striving to take the pressure off his players with Saturday’s clash against York City starting an important run of fixtures.

Speaking to Dons Player, the Wimbledon manager says it is vital that his players do not freeze heading into the final 11 matches of the season.

“If we transmit that pressure and fear onto the players then I do not think we are going to get performances from them,” Neal Ardley said. “I know that everyone worries about these six-pointers, but I am trying to retain that tunnel vision of aiming for five wins. If we can get those five wins then we feel that other clubs will not be picking up those points and that will be enough.

“We have got to take the pressure away from the boys. Yes, we have to say to them that in any game of football we are involved in we have to look like the team fighting for our lives. That goes for our approach, the desire from the players and effort levels. But the other side of that is the players have to play without fear in these games and that has served us well so far. We have planned for this week for some time in that we have had a run of games and then a free week. It has been important to try and get your message across to the players in terms of some good, quality tactics work.”

Neal Ardley added that the three previous encounters against York City this season – two of them wins for Wimbledon – will count for little on Saturday with the Minstermen having appointed Nigel Worthington as their new manager.

“York have a new manager and it is his first week in charge,” he added. “You could take the reports from their recent games and rip them up because they will not have any bearing on how they are going to play. They are obviously going to be motivated by a new manager and it will stoke them up. It is not great timing from our point of view, but we have to take control of our performance levels and that is what we have to focus on.”

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