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Neal: not good enough

1 April 2017

Manager's post-match interview after defeat at Vale

Neal Ardley expressed his disappointment with today’s display against Port Vale after a performance from his players that he said lacked conviction in both boxes.

Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal said: “I thought we were nice and pretty between the boxes, but our finishing, desire and composure when we got into their box was poor. We should have scored two or three goals in the first-half and they got a free header to score in our box. They walked into our box for a one-on-one in the first-half and hit the post and in the second-half they walked into our box and scored. The game is won and lost in both boxes. We were not good enough today and that is really disappointing.

“Without the ball, we were as bad as we have been. From their throw-ins and goal kicks, we could not have got any more things wrong. I am hoarse from shouting information that the players should know. There was a real lack of leadership out there today and the boys need to take responsibility. I was desperate for us to show everyone that we are not on holiday, but the boys today looked like they are.”

Wimbledon ended the match with academy products Alfie Egan and Jayden Antwi on the pitch, the latter making his first-team debut as a substitute at Port Vale. Neal said that he’s willing to hand young players more opportunities if they earn the right in the coming weeks.

“I still want to win games,” added Neal. “The young lads have to earn it when they come onto the pitch. It’s our intention to blood youngsters because it is important for the club and we want to do it, but it has to be the right time. We cannot just throw them all in at once. Today was the right time with 10-15 minutes to go because we were 2-0 down and they could come on and play with no fear. We will have a look at that next week and see where we go. The week after we have two games in four days so they may get an opportunity then.

“We will drill the players hard next week, that’s all I can do. I will push them hard next week, see how they train, and who deserves a spot. I don’t think there is anyone who can knock on my door. We have to go hard next week. We have a tough game against Bristol Rovers and we have to go at them. After we played against Southend, the players showed that they were affected by it and we bounced back against Rochdale, but today they have been as sloppy as hell.”

  and extended highlights from today’s match at Port Vale will follow tomorrow.Dons PlayerNeal’s full-post match reaction is now on 

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