Manager's post-match interview after Oldham draw
place finish in League One was confirmed with a draw against Oldham.thNeal Ardley was full of pride about the progress made by AFC Wimbledon in recent seasons after a 15
Though Neal said afterwards that his players had struggled for form and confidence during the run-in after the 0-0 draw, he pointed to the big steps made in the four years since that final-day escape against Fleetwood.
Speaking during a post-match interview for Dons Player, Neal Ardley said: “It had been documented how hard I had been on myself and the group in the last week, but I have got a real sense of pride at the end of it. We have stuttered a little bit, but take away the last few games and it has been a really remarkable season. We did not get going until four games into the season, but we kicked on and we never looked like we would be in danger – we even got up to sixth place at one point.
“Two years ago we were still trying to establish ourselves as a League 2 team, but now we are comfortably mid-table as a League One team. I think we need to say that is a real step in the right direction and we should be proud of ourselves.
“Terry Brown did an unbelievable job getting this club up and his first season in the league was tough, he needed to get over the line towards the end. That followed in the first season under me. Even for two years after that we were still a League 2 team that people expected to go down or at be least fighting to stay up, we were still not considered as a top half team.
“We tried to establish ourselves and five years down the line we are a League One team in the middle of the table. People outside this club often say, ‘Oh my God, what an unbelievable job, you were everyone’s favourites to go down’. Obviously, this club has been over-achieving for years and it’s kind of an expectation, but people outside the club cannot believe that we have finished so comfortably mid-table.”
Neal felt that his side were very unfortunate not to round off the season with a victory after dominating for long spells against Oldham.
“I was really pleased with the performance,” added Neal. “We had been a little bit low on confidence, particularly in our forward play in the last few weeks. We have kept a hell of a lot of clean sheets, which is a positive. I thought some of the play in the first-half was exceptional. We were miles the better team today; I think we had 20 attempts on goal to their six. We kept looking for it and some of the intricacy around the box, particularly with ‘Barchy’ and Lyle down the left, was exceptional.
“We did everything but score. When your confidence is low, you snatch at that chance. When you look at our run between September and January, you always felt we were going to score. I felt it was a really positive performance from the boys today.”
.Dons PlayerThe full interview with Neal Ardley is now on