Coach highlights work ethic as key to development
Alan Reeves saluted his side’s positive reaction and their ability to stick to a gameplan after victory at Milton Keynes last night.
Wimbledon were dominant throughout in the 3-0 Final Third Development Cup win, but it was the second-half display that most pleased Alan after last week’s defeat at Cambridge United. The young Dons squandered a 2-0 lead in that match, but it was a different story last night as they made the most of their half-time advantage.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Alan said: “When the players came in at half-time I told them that they had played well for 45 minutes at Cambridge last week, but this time we needed to take that on for 90 minutes and last out. We got a penalty straight away after good work from Kevin Sainte-Luce, but we were comfortable all throughout the second-half.
“The key to victory was hard work. Their philosophy is to play out from the back, get their passing going and make the pitch big when they are in possession. We decided that we were going to press them high up the pitch so that their goalkeeper had to kick it long. We wanted to stop them playing out from the back. My two centre-backs had to head it and keep the ball in their half. It worked in the first half and we maintained the intensity in the second-half. We thoroughly deserved the 3-0 win.”
Wimbledon’s development side have a break from match action next week, but Alan will be demanding a similar level of performance during the rest of this season. Alan, who was appointed as Senior Professional Development Coach in the summer, made it loud and clear what is expected from his young players if they wish to make progress at the club.
“I said to each and every one of them that they all put a shift in,” said Alan. “They all did exactly what I asked of them and I’m not going to single out individuals. They all deserve a pat on the back. I will be looking for the same intensity that we showed last night in our future games.
“There’s no substitute for hard work. I spoke to David Fitzpatrick at half-time because for 20 minutes he was not doing the job that we were asking him to. In possession, it’s not a problem for him, but he needs to know how to tuck in when we haven’t got the ball. To be a professional footballer and make your way in the game there are no short-cuts and it’s all about hard work.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Alan Reeves on our premium channel, along with an interview with George Oakley after his excellent goal last night.