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Neal keeps faith in squad

26 November 2015

Manager's update ahead of Orient

Neal Ardley said that he retains plenty of belief in his squad ahead of Saturday’s trip to Leyton Orient and the Dons will go there with no fear.

A 1-0 defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge has not quelled Neal’s optimism about the capability of his squad.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “We just have to keep going and believing. I think we’ve got good players all around the pitch and I’ve not seen too many teams that have been better than us. There are a lot of good things about us and our team at the moment. We just need to keep trying to attack teams and trying to win games. We haven’t gone cagey and set-up to worry about the opposition. We have tried to win every game and we’re going to try and keep doing that until the end of this season.

“Ian Hendon has done a great job at Orient. They had a lot of good players from before this season, but he’s also brought in a few good ones. They are a big club and it will be exciting. We don’t fear losing games of football. You lose them in League 2 and in every league. We will have a really good go and try and put in a good performance that our fans can be proud of.”

The Wimbledon manager reported that there are no fresh injury concerns after Tuesday night’s game and he felt there was no need to bring in another player before today’s 5.00 pm deadline for loan signings.

Neal felt he was harsh on his players in his post-match comments after the Dagenham game as watching the full match back yesterday on video provided a completely different view.

“First and foremost, you have to take the emotion out of it,” added Neal. “There was a lot of frustration and disappointment for all of us. I never sleep well after games anyway, but I woke up yesterday and went through the game with a fine tooth comb. I had to come in today and hold up my hands to the players because I was too hard on them after the game. I commented about us not doing enough to perhaps win the game, but I watched the game back and we were excellent in so many ways.

“I cannot remember a League 2 match, whether it’s been involving a team near the top or the bottom, when one of those sides has not had a shot on goal. They could not get into our half because of our energy, transition from attack to defence, and the effort levels of the players. We totally dominated from start to finish and Wayne Burnett said no team had done that to them this season. The boys deserve credit because I focus a lot on performance. Their keeper made three or four good saves and with another two chances we could have done better.

“We were so close to a good win, but we should have at least come away with a 0-0. We were a mistake away from that and mistakes happen. On Monday night, it was exactly the same for Crystal Palace when they pushed all game and ended up losing a game they should never have lost.

“It hurts when you get booed, but I understand it. It’s a results industry. One team was pushing to win the game and the energy and commitment from the players was outstanding. Sometimes you cannot control a mistake and that happened. Realistically, we should have come away with a 0-0 and saying ‘if only we could have finished this chance or that chance?’ I don’t think any of us deserved it because the performance was good, but I understand it because we are in a results-driven business.”

A full seven-minute video interview with Neal is now on Dons Player, along with an interview with Sean Rigg.

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