Post-match reaction from the manager
Neal Ardley was pleased with the competitive edge that his players showed in today’s draw against League 1 Millwall.
The Dons came tantalisingly close to victory with Millwall only salvaging a draw deep into injury-time.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “On Tuesday I don’t think that we had a physical edge to our game. I don’t want us to be a nice team to play against and we were very competitive. Our one-on-one defending around the pitch was very good and we defended set plays very well. Within all of that we got a bit too narrow and did not have enough width at times.
“We got penned in at times in the first half and I think there was honesty about our players because they wanted to see out their jobs. We did not pass it well enough or get enough width as a team to hurt them in the first half. In the second half we did that better and caused them problems.
“I know we have drawn, but we spent the last five minutes with nine men and had a lot of Under-21 players on the pitch. I think we would have won the game if we had not gone down to nine men and we would have come away saying that we had beaten a team from the league above us.”
Wimbledon make the trip to La Manga on Monday for a training camp that will end with a match against Spanish side Granada CF next Saturday.
It will offer a week of team bonding and a chance to integrate the new players signed recently. Neal believes there is plenty more to come from Karleigh Osborne and Andy Barcham after their performances today.
“Karleigh hardly played at times last season after a bad injury at the start of last season at Bristol City,” added Neal. “We need to give him more time to get the rustiness out of him and he is getting there. He is starting to adapt to what we want. I want him to be a bit braver in his defending and play higher up the pitch than maybe he was used to at Bristol City.
“I thought that Andy put in a really good performance. He worked his socks off, particularly in the first-half. He ended up in positions that he would not want to be in and defending against their winger, but he defended like he was an experienced full-back. In the second half we managed to get him higher up the pitch and wider. He then got a couple of opportunities to do what he does best.
“I just need to give him the belief that he will be more of a threat going forward. That will come and we did not pass the ball well enough today to get players further up the pitch. We still looked reasonably comfortable in spells though against a team at a higher level than us.”
Neal said it was too soon to know the extent of injuries to Callum Kennedy (knee) and Ade Azeez (ankle) and they will be assessed by physio Stuart Douglas.
Full post-match reaction from Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player.