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Neal: we have to do better

10 September 2016

The manager interviewed after game versus United

Neal Ardley was disappointed with the manner of today’s defeat against Sheffield United and he said that his squad face a big challenge to adapt to League One football.

Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “It was poor from us and disappointing. We huffed and puffed. We scored two good goals from things we had worked on in training, which is pleasing because you work hard on going forward and attacking. However, we conceded three goals that are so far away from what we do on the training field and that’s disappointing. You cannot concede three goals like that at home.

“I have to give some credit to Sheffield United because they were clinical and they looked like they could score when they went forward. Their two forwards were a shining example of what you need from two strikers away from home, but we have to be better. We have a real challenge on our hands at the moment in this league. The league is tougher and we have to rise to that challenge.”

A second-half fightback came close to yielding a point right at the death with the manager’s attacking formation so nearly paying off, but Neal felt frustrated that his players had put themselves in that position.

“I felt we had to work harder than we should do on the bench,” Neal added. “We worked really hard for this game on team shape and stopping them from doing what they do going forward, but midfielders have not tracked runners for the first goal. Someone has run between two defenders for the second goal and one of their players has run between two of our defenders to slot it in for the third goal. That’s why we end up chasing the game.

“We brought Tom on and went 3-4-3 to get some momentum into it, but that’s me working hard on the sidelines because the first part had not been done. They did a real good number on us and that’s disappointing at home. We need more quality going forward, we have to be better without the ball, we have to defend our box better, and that’s been our biggest downfall.

“It’s not just the defence, it’s the midfield, because you defend from the front. We are trying to be brave and play two forwards, but there will come a point if the two forwards don’t effect the game with and without the ball well enough we will have to do something different to get the results. My job is to try and get results.”

Full post-match reaction from Neal is now on Dons Player and an interview with Tom Elliott will follow tomorrow.

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