Dons manager says players must show they care
Neal Ardley has called for his players to restore some pride this Saturday after making it clear to them that he will not tolerate a repeat of their performance at Northampton.
The Dons face York City at Bootham Crescent on Saturday after a week that has involved Neal Ardley reminding the squad that a tougher mentality is demanded from them.
“There is a lot of hurt and I think it’s important people outside our environment know that. I was appalled on Saturday. I forgave the Wycombe performance two weeks earlier because I thought it was the first time we had really done that and it was a bad day at the office, but then it happened again. I’m the same as all the fans; we know we will lose games, but in every match let’s have a go. Even if the quality is not there, we must want the ball, show bravery in the way we play, and make sure we’re really competitive. Speaking to Dons Player, the Wimbledon manager said:
“I stood there after 10 minutes last Saturday and I was bereft at what I was seeing. That came after the same team talk and preparation for games when we did have a go. I don’t send my teams out to play that way. Ultimately, it’s really difficult because you speak to the press afterwards and you don’t want to slaughter your players, but you can’t pass the buck. The buck stops with the manager as it always does, but I felt as frustrated at the time as some of the fans do because it was not what I expect from my team.”
Neal added that he has demanded a high intensity from his players in training this week in preparation for the FA Cup tie.
“I’ve made sure the message is clear," Neal said. "I had a lot of one-on-one meetings with certain players during the week and I’ve made sure everyone is clear about where I am. It really hurts me and if I think they’re not as hurt as me, then there’s going to be a problem.
“This week we’ve had a real intensity in training and we’ve demanded that. We’ve raised the levels if that’s possible. It has been a week of getting into a few people’s heads and talking to them about their mentality. It hurts me when people question the first-team and their desire. I hope and I feel that we will give a performance to be proud of on Saturday.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley on our premium channel and an interview with Frankie Sutherland.