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Neal: we showed character

24 February 2016

Manager's reaction after Carlisle victory

Neal Ardley praised his players for showing character and resilience in abundance after securing three valuable points against a spirited Carlisle side.

Despite going down to 10 men, Carlisle put on plenty of late pressure and Wimbledon needed to dig in for a victory that moved them up to the heady heights of fifth in League 2.

Speaking during an interview with Rob Cornell for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “We made some silly decisions at times, but you could see the character of the boys and their fitness levels. The main thing is that everyone could see tonight that we have a team playing their hearts out and giving everything for this club.

“I said we wanted to be excited by these games. Barnet have beaten Portsmouth tonight and that showed what a good result it was for us on Saturday. If Carlisle play like they did tonight for the rest of this season they will not lose many games. Oxford I expect to be a slightly different game and they had a great result tonight as well. Let the fans be excited by it and we will give it our best shot.”

Neal felt that any criticism of his side for failing to kill off 10 men was harsh because Carlisle played so well on the night.

“Sometimes it’s not easy,” added Neal. “We played with 10 men against Bristol Rovers and they could not break us down. Carlisle made a change by going with three at the back. When you play against that you want to get your wingers high and wide, but we had kind of got into ‘fight-mode’ by that point because of the way Carlisle make you scrap for every ball. Everything we had done at half-time to try and get a foothold in the game and penetrate them was evident in the first five minutes of the second-half.

“But when we got the goal and the extra man we carried on in 'fight-mode' and it was like we did not have a spare man. We did not have enough width and we started to hang onto what we had.

“They were really brave, they were always a threat, and they pushed wide men high so that they played with a front four. They showed great energy and I think they were really good. I want to give them credit. Though we lacked quality, we showed a lot of character on the night.”

The full post-match reaction with Neal Ardley is now on Dons Player and interviews with match-winner Paul Robinson and Connor Smith will follow later today on our premium channel.

Picture credit: Stuart Butcher, Pro Sports Images.


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