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Neal: plenty of work to do

29 January 2014

The manager's assessment of Hartlepool display

Neal Ardley was far from pleased with his side’s overall performance in the win against Hartlepool - and he blamed himself for a below-par first-half display.

The dramatic turnaround did not paper over the cracks for Neal after he admitted getting his tactics wrong against a Hartlepool side that he described as “excellent” on the night.

“I tactically got it wrong and I have apologised to the players in there,” said Neal. “I know that we lost battles in the first-half and to the fans it would probably have seemed like the players were not playing with any passion, but tactically Hartlepool were better than us. They had a diamond formation and I thought that we could cope with that, but it played into their hands. It meant that Charlie Sheringham, Kevin Sainte-Luce and Jack Midson got very limited service and there was no space for them to work in.

“We went for a 4-4-2 at half-time, I know there was a change in personnel but it was the system. The players took that on board and really went for it. The whole team stepped up and did their jobs better, but I take responsibility for the first-half. I thought that Hartlepool were excellent. I know that’s easy to say when you win, but the football that they played and their intricacy around the box was really good at times. It was the sort of stuff I’d like us to play, but I know we have not got that at the moment.”

Speaking to Dons Player, Neal added that there’s plenty of hard work ahead, despite his side having moved up to ninth in League 2 after tonight’s win.

“It’s moved us up to 38 points, which is great, but we still have loads to work on,” Neal said. “There are things not quite right with how we’re functioning at the moment. Ultimately, that’s my job and I will not be able to do much work on that this week. But next week we will work on patterns of play to try and get us playing better.”

Dons Player subscribers can now watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley and we will feature an interview with new Wimbledon hero Danny Hylton on our premium site soon.

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