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Neal: I had to lift players

4 January 2014

Wimbledon manager on Wycombe win

Neal Ardley said it was a test of his managerial skills to lift Wimbledon’s players after they put a seven-match winless run behind them in emphatic style against Wycombe Wanderers today.

The Wimbledon manager was worried that the New Year’s Day defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge had taken its toll on the players and he was delighted with their response at Adams Park.

“The players were really down after that match and the staff were too,” said Neal. “I had to go home and pick myself up. I started reading a couple more books to find out how to lead and to reignite my leadership skills. I did a bit yesterday with the boys to put a smile on their faces and we got a performance today.

“I think that our performance was as good as it was at Dagenham. I know a lot of people will not agree, but I watched the video of the match and we were outstanding in spells. But we never had enough thrust in the box. That is probably what we added today and the game changed because of that. If we had got a first goal against Dagenham then we may have got a second or third goal in that match.

“I am trying to put together a high performance team. I have looked at things and have criticised myself as far as committing more bodies forward. We did not feel that we were getting enough players forward in a 4-4-2, a 4-4-1-1 or a 4-4-3 and because of that we decided to sacrifice what we had out wide and go with another centre forward. In the three games that we have played 3-5-2 we have looked like scoring a lot more than we did previously.”

Neal Ardley was delighted with the performances of his attacking players at Wycombe today.

“In the first-half I felt that we were a bit static and we did not get behind or penetrate enough,” he added. “But we talked about that at half-time and in the second-half we tore them to shreds. It was amazing. Luke Moore has got fantastic movement, Jack Midson did not stop running, and Charlie upped his work-rate in the second-half. Between the three of them they caused problems. But we needed to score that first goal and that’s been a key reason why we’ve not got more points during the Christmas period.”

Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal later and interviews with Charlie Wyke, Jack Midson and Will Antwi will follow in the next two days.

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