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Neal hails new-look team

7 February 2015

Manager's post-match reaction

Neal Ardley saluted his side’s work ethic after the Dons made it three games unbeaten with a victory against Newport County today.

After starting their 2015 league fixtures with two successive defeats, Wimbledon have turned that form around and the manager is delighted with the progress made by his new-look squad after changes made during January.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “Both goals were straight off the training ground. We work hard in training on how we want to play on a Saturday. For the first goal we did well to get two versus one down the wing and get a cross in and Bayo is always going to get himself isolated in the box. In the second half we got down the flank again and managed to score.

“I thought that the whole team defended brilliantly today. Newport do not make it easy for you. They get bodies in the box and put crosses in. We had a sticky spell for 20 minutes after we scored the first goal, but that was not because we went on the defensive. They are good at what they do and sometimes in League 2 you have to stand up to that. I thought our back four were excellent during the first half and when Mark Phillips came on for the second half. Deji Oshilaja was immense all game.

“We are really pleased with the squad and we have lots of options. It was important to win this home game with a tough schedule ahead, but confidence is high and the boys are in good spirits. The experienced boys are always talking to the young boys, but the youngsters are showing that arrogance and confidence. Between them they are looking like they want to do something creative and it might be best to let them get on with it!”

Bayo Akinfenwa had a hugely eventful game as he scored twice and missed a penalty, but Neal Ardley praised his overall contribution.

“Out of the 40 goals we’ve scored in the league this season, Bayo has scored, assisted or played a major part in 22 of those,” Neal added. “That’s a ridiculous amount. Sean Rigg and George Francomb are both also chipping in with assists.

“Bayo is the penalty taker and I fancied him to score when he stepped up. He does it his way and he normally scores. He didn’t this time, but I’m sure he will score next time.”

Neal said that Will Nightingale (knee) and George Francomb (hamstring) will be assessed on Monday after they suffered injuries today.

Dons Player subscribers can watch Neal’s full post-match reaction on our premium channel and an interview with Bayo Akinfenwa will follow tomorrow.


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