Dons manager in buoyant mood after JPT win
Neal Ardley spoke of his delight after engineering a thrilling JPT win at Milton Keynes, but he is determined to ensure that it acts as a springboard for more success this season.
Having come through the ranks at Wimbledon as a player and kept the club in the Football League as a manager, victory meant a lot to Neal Ardley.
Speaking to Dons Player, Neal said: “It means everything to me and I was emotional at the end because it’s such a big deal. I don’t think it’s quite as big as the Fleetwood match and staying up because of all the pressure and the months of hard work we had put in, but it’s up there. I am over the moon. I’m proud to lead this team and I wanted to be the person that delivered the first win against them. I’m delighted that I’ve done that.
“But I will do my best to make sure that we keep going in every competition as best as we can. I want to give us a season to remember because the last couple have been tough. My only disappointment was that we had 3,000 fans at the FA Cup tie, over 1,000 at the League Cup game and less than 200 tonight. I did not get to share it with as many of the fans as I would have liked, but on Saturday we are playing against the top of the league and fans can come along and cheer every kick that the players do. They’ve done a wonderful thing for the cause tonight.”
Neal Ardley added that the players executed his plan perfectly and he said they were in boisterous mood afterwards.
“I’ve not even spoken to them and they were dancing around in there,” Neal said. “They are buzzing and they know what it means. Bayo is trying to get two days off, but I’ve told him that he’s in on Thursday! We had a plan and the players delivered on it. We talked about it last week. We knew that we would not have the ball for about 65 per cent of the game so we wanted to put out a high energy team to do their jobs and make sure we stayed in the game. The plan then was to bring on the substitutes after about 65 minutes and have a good go at it.”
Dons Player subscribers can watch the full video interview with Neal Ardley soon and the thoughts of match-winner Bayo Akinfenwa will be on our premium site later today.