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Mixed emotions for Neal

10 August 2016

Manager's reaction after cup exit

Neal Ardley felt that his side’s “brilliant” football on the night was let down by defensive shortcomings from set-pieces as AFC Wimbledon tumbled out of the EFL Cup.

For long spells at Peterborough, Wimbledon showed exactly what they were capable of in an attacking sense, but it all counted for little in the end.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “I really wanted to go in and say to the players ‘well done’ and tell them how pleased I was with their effort, energy and overall performance. I thought that going forward we looked brilliant at times and we could score every time we went forward. We had chances that we can look back on and wonder how we missed them, but we have lost the game because we have not got first contact or second contact from a set-piece again.

“It is mixed emotions. It was an exhilarating cup tie, but we have come out on the wrong end of it. We did not get to extra-time because we switched off. We did not see our jobs through in our own box and you have heard me say that a few times. There is no magic formula and all we can do is work hard at it and make sure it does not happen again.

“We’ve kept the same back four as we had at the end of last season, except for Sean coming in for Jon. It’s the same players who did it brilliantly last season. We knew in the first-half of last season that we cost ourselves points when we deserved more and we are back to that again. We work hard and we set them up for what they might come up against, but then they have to take responsibility.”

Neal added that goalscorer Chris Whelpdale was withdrawn at half-time because he was struggling with a groin injury.

After making three changes to his starting line-up, Neal was pleased with the three players who came in for their full AFC Wimbledon debuts.

  “We felt that Tyrone Barnett needed some fitness because he is a little bit behind with his minutes,” added Neal. “I thought he worked his socks off and did everything I wanted from him. Tyrone and Dominic Poleon caused problems up there. We know that Dean Parrett is going to be a very good player for us and it was important to keep Dannie Bulman fresh. We wanted to have a go at the competition and I thought that both teams really did that.” 

Neal's full post-match reaction is on Dons Player.

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