Manager on today's impressive performance
Neal Ardley was delighted with the manner of today’s victory against Reading and he hopes it can be the catalyst to go into 2016/17 in good form.
Speaking during an interview for Dons Player after the 2-0 win, Neal said: “We probably lacked a bit of spark in the first couple of weeks of pre-season. Mentally it is tough to come back from only having a break for a few weeks, but we had a chat and said that no one is going to feel sorry for us. There are 30 points to play for in the first 10 games and we have got to get that extra momentum back quickly. I am hoping this is the catalyst. The training on Thursday was incredible and we trained well yesterday. We took that into today and we are hoping that momentum is back now so that we can start the season like we finished the last.”
The manager felt that his players executed the game plan perfectly against Reading today and it was a good experience for taking on higher level opposition regularly next season.
“It was a great work-out and we spent a lot of time without the ball,” added Neal. “We knew with Jaap Stam’s background from the Ajax school that they would pop it around well and make the pitch big. We had planned for that and the boys executed it well. We did say that we’ve gone up a level now so we know that there are going to be more teams that try and find spare players and dominate the middle of the pitch.
“We need to be good without the ball. We need to be aware that we cannot just press the ball all the time, we need to fill the gaps. I thought we got the balance right today on a baking hot day and on a dry, slow pitch. The boys did really well.”
Neal confirmed afterwards that Barry Fuller missed out due to a bruised foot, but it is not a serious injury and he could be in contention later in the week.
The full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons Player and an interview with Dominic Poleon will follow tomorrow.