Post-match interview with the manager after brilliant victory
Neal Ardley saluted the response of his players after AFC Wimbledon got back to winning ways in convincing fashion against Port Vale today.
Neal revealed that the Dons showed plenty of desire to put things right during the build-up after last week’s disappointment in Buckinghamshire.
Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “We were really down last week. I try not to go on about it, but we all felt really low. The team knew what it meant to the club and we did not really get our game going. We focused all week on trying to get really good at us again. There were some heated exchanges on Thursday, people were not happy with each other and we got stuck into them. Then on Friday we trained really well in the match prep. I thought that the boys were exceptional from the very first minute today.
“Last season we needed a miraculous 45-point haul in the second half of the season to make the play-offs. If we can get close to 35 by the halfway stage, 70 points is normally there or thereabouts for the play-offs. That gives us a benchmark in the first half of the season, but again, we need to start with 52 or 53 points and work our way up. We are certainly chipping away at that total.”
Neal was full of praise for Sean Kelly and Tyrone Barnett with both players having made notable contributions today.
“I thought Sean was really good,” added Neal. “He is a good player and he reads the game well. We are delighted to have him back to fitness. Jon Meades had struggled a little bit with his ankle of late, but Sean came into the team today and I thought his interchange with Lyle for the first goal was exceptional.
“I had a good chat with Tyrone a few weeks ago and the response I’ve had had has been immense. He could have got himself down after the Fleetwood game when he got brought off, but that was not really his fault. Tyrone came on against Curzon Ashton and got us back into the game, he was exceptional against Brighton and today he took his goal brilliantly and did everything I asked of him. Dom scored and we know he loves scoring, Tom Elliott scored and he deserved it for the target man role he fulfils. Lyle ran himself into the ground and assisted a couple of goals. They all know that I don’t just look at who scores, I look at everything that goes on.”
Neal said afterwards that George Francomb was withdrawn today with a hip injury and Jon Meades was not deemed fit enough to play, but he could return to training next week.
and interviews with Tom Elliott, Chris Robertson and extended highlights will all follow tomorrow on our premium channel.Dons PlayerThe full post-match reaction from Neal is now on