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Neal: we were outstanding

2 January 2016

Manager delighted with his side's performance

Neal Ardley saluted an “outstanding” AFC Wimbledon performance at Cambridge today and he praised his players for a positive response after a frustrating first-half.

The Wimbledon manager said that his players were angry at half-time after Andy Barcham had a goal in the first-half disallowed for offside, a decision that Neal believed was wrong.

However, the Dons rattled in three goals without reply in the second-half to make it seven games unbeaten away from home.

Speaking during an interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “We worked hard to show the boys what sort of game it was going to be and what we needed to do. Cambridge had been in great form and we needed to compete and be strong at both ends of the pitch so we worked hard at that. The first half was tough because there was so much frustration at the officials. The move we put together for Andy Barcham to finish was the best move of the match and it was fantastic, but the linesman flagged a man not going for the ball as offside. He knew two minutes later that it was a mistake.

“All of a sudden it was 1-1 and we had to come through that. The players were angry at the officials at half-time and we had to calm them down. We had to talk about not letting it affect them. We came out in the second-half and were by far the dominant team. I thought we were excellent all game. Our all-round performance was outstanding."

Neal added that he has been delighted with the reaction of his players since the defeat against Stevenage on 12 December.

“Since we had the hiccup against Stevenage and got a bit of stick after the game the players have responded in an immense way,” Neal said. “When you have all four strikers really buzzing and feeling confident it is great. I thought Bayo was immense today, he was unplayable at times, and I told him that it was his best game of the season. But you cannot take anything away from how good our centre halves were against Barry Corr and how much our midfielders picked up second balls. It was an all-round good team performance.

"The most pleasing thing for me as a manager is the work-rate within the group. With and without the ball they run so hard for each other and I think the Stevenage game might have just given us a bit of a jolt and the boys have responded brilliantly."

The full interview with Neal Ardley will be on Dons Player later and interviews with Paul Robinson and Jon Meades will follow tomorrow.

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